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Arkansas
CenterPoint Energy wants Arkansas customers to be prepared for higher gas bills due to continued cold weather
Natural gas bills could be 40 percent higher this month compared to last because of increased usage

HOUSTON - February 5, 2014 - CenterPoint Energy is seeing higher consumption by natural gas customers as a result of the continued cold weather throughout Arkansas. Customers should expect that the bill they receive in February could be 40 percent higher compared to the bill they received in January because of increased usage due to heating needs.

“Temperatures have continued to remain bitterly cold and customers used over 45 percent more natural gas in January than they did in December; based on bills mailed this week, an average residential customer's bill could be 40 percent higher than last month,” said Walter Bryant, vice president of Gas Operations in Arkansas. Actual bills will vary depending on how much natural gas individual customers consume based on the size and efficiency of their home, efficiency of their appliances, and at what temperature they set their thermostat.

“This increase is based solely on higher usage and not on increases in the cost of natural gas, which remains a great energy value. Our cost for natural gas, which is passed on to our customers with no mark-up or profit, is essentially the same as last year,” Bryant added. “Consumers can manage higher natural gas bills by lowering their consumption, making their home more energy efficient and enrolling in our Average Monthly Billing program to spread costs more evenly throughout the year.”

CenterPoint Energy also recommends the following tips:

Furnace: A furnace is the largest natural gas consuming appliance.

  • Set your thermostat no higher than 68 degrees. If possible set it at 65 degrees when you are home and 60 degrees when you are away from home. Lowering your thermostat can help you save on your annual heating costs. Installing a programmable thermostat can help you automatically control your heat usage. Add on extra layers of clothing to keep warm.
  • Change your air filters monthly. A dirty filter restricts airflow and can increase the operating cost of your furnace by as much as 10 percent. A good reminder is to change the filter each time you receive your natural gas bill.

Water heater: The water heater is the second-largest gas consuming appliance.

  • Set the water heater temperature at 120 degrees and wrap water heater pipes. Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees from 140 degrees and insulating your pipes can help you save on your water heating costs.

Other appliances: Although they consume less natural gas, you can still maximize their efficiency.

  • Run your washing machine, dish washer and gas dryer only with full loads.

Make your home more airtight and keep cold air outside:

  • Seal leaks around doors, windows and other openings such as pipes or ducts, with caulk or weather-stripping. The most common places where air escapes in homes are floors, walls, ceilings, ducts, fireplaces, plumbing penetrations, doors, windows, fans, vents, and electrical outlets.
  • If it has been a while, consider adding more insulation in your attic.
  • On sunny days, open draperies and blinds to let the sun’s warmth in. Close them at night to insulate against the cold air outside.

Visit CenterPointEnergy.com/MyEnergyAnalyzer to take advantage of our free online energy analysis:

In less than 10 minutes, this free, online energy analysis will not only help explain where you are spending your money, but will also make recommendations on how to lower your gas bill in the future.

Take advantage of CenterPoint Energy’s energy efficiency programs:

CenterPoint Energy’s energy saving programs include rebates for high-efficiency natural gas heating and water heating equipment and low flow devices, such as showerheads, spray valves and faucet aerators. To learn more about these money saving energy efficiency programs visit CenterPointEnergy.com/Rebates.

If a customer thinks they’ll have difficulty paying their natural bill, they should contact CenterPoint Energy at the number listed on their bill as soon as possible to discuss payment arrangements. For more information on how to save energy and money, visit CenterPointEnergy.com/ReadyforWinter.