Learn to lower winter heating bills

We can help you lower high winter heating bills

Colder winter weather can mean increased natural gas usage and higher bills. We have lots of tips, tools, services and programs to help you in this newsletter and at CenterPointEnergy.com/MyBill.

Log into My Account to see up to 13 months of bills and 24 months of usage. Your bill includes monthly gas usage charts and a comparison of temperature, usage and billing days this month versus last month and last year. Click Analyze Bill to analyze your use and set up your profile to get personalized tips.

Smooth winter payment peaks

Balance winter bills with Average Monthly billing

If you’re seeing higher winter energy bills as the temperatures dip lower, Average Monthly Billing can help you manage winter payment peaks. This free energy budget tool helps balance out your payments throughout the year and you still only pay for the amount of natural gas you use. Enroll in Average Monthly Billing in My Account.

Watch this short video to learn more about how you can get off of the roller coaster of higher winter billing peaks.

Understand your energy usage

Get helpful energy  use insights to understand and manage your bill with My Energy Analyzer

My Energy Analyzer, our free online tool, can help you better understand how your home uses energy and how that usage is reflected in your monthly energy bills. Spend a few minutes online and you’ll quickly see what percentage of your utility bill goes toward specific heating, cooling or appliance use. You’ll also get low- or no-cost home improvement ideas to further increase your energy efficiency which can make a big difference in your bill, especially in colder weather.

Our short video tells you more about how My Energy Analyzer can shed more light on how your energy use impacts your budget and bills. 

Simplify your life in the new year

Take advantage of our My Account features and start 2019 with simplified natural gas account management.

You can:

  • Save time and effort: All of your CenterPoint Energy natural gas accounts are on one summary screen. Create up to 10 contact points for appointments, alerts, etc.
  • Help family members: Become an authorized account user and you’ll receive account alerts and access to pay bills online to help those you love. Or, add trusted users to your own account. 
  • Streamline routine tasks: Forget about memorizing due dates. You can receive alerts at multiple text and/or email accounts. Make life even simpler by enrolling in AutoPay!

Tips to help you save money

Follow these cool tips to save cold, hard cash this winter

Even during the winter heating season, you can save energy and money without sacrificing comfort by following these tips:

  • Set your thermostat to 68 degrees when you’re at home and awake and lower when you sleep or leave home. If you turn your thermostat down 10 degrees for at least 8 hours each day, then you’ll save about 5 to 15 percent per year on your heating bill. 
  • Use a programmable thermostat to match your household's schedule. Set the temperature to be cooler while you are away or sleeping.
  • Close fireplace dampers when not in use so you don't lose heat.
  • Redirect ceiling fans to pull cool air up and push warm air down (clockwise direction on most fans).
  • Keep curtains and blinds open during the day to allow the sun's heat to warm your house, and close curtains and blinds at night so you don't lose heat when the sun goes down.
Get more energy saving tips to lower your bill without sacrificing comfort.
Money-Saving Rebates

Ring in the New Year with money-saving rebates

Resolve to improve your home’s energy efficiency this year. Now is a great time to replace or upgrade your heating, water heating or fireplace equipment. You’ll see cost savings and increase your home’s comfort with energy-efficient, environmentally friendly natural gas equipment. Learn more about our 2019 programs and rebates

Weatherize today and save

Weatherize your home and save money and energy

If you added together all the small cracks, crevices and holes in your home, you might find they let in as much cold air in winter as an open window. They also provide a route for warm air to escape. In warmer months, they can let cool air out. Even if your home is well insulated, it’s important to stop heat or conditioned air loss and eliminate drafts caused by air leaks.

You can weatherize your home and substantially reduce air infiltration by caulking and weather stripping. It only takes a few relatively inexpensive materials and a little time, but the payback period is usually within one season. Check out how you can easily cut your energy bills by putting a few of our efficiency tips into action. 

Payment assistance and other help is available

If you are having trouble paying your natural gas bill, please  contact us. We can help you develop a payment plan or direct you to an agency that can help, including the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP is a federally funded program providing financial assistance to eligible low-income households for home heating and/or cooling needs.

Carbon monoxide safety tips

Carbon monoxide dangers increase during winter months

Natural gas furnaces provide heating to millions of homes in the U.S. safely and efficiently. But, improperly adjusted or poorly maintained fuel-burning equipment and appliances can cause fuels to burn incompletely and dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) to accumulate. There is an even greater risk of CO accumulation when a home is tightly sealed and not properly ventilated.

Carbon monoxide incidents increase during the winter months when customers turn on their furnaces to stay warm. Often called the silent killer, CO is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas. When inhaled, this dangerous and potentially poisonous gas combines with the blood and prevents it from absorbing oxygen, causing illness or death. CO usually is produced while burning fuels such as gasoline, coal, wood, charcoal, kerosene, natural gas, propane, heating oil and almost any other combustible material.

To prevent CO exposure:

  • Never operate an automobile or any combustion engine, barbeque grills or similar equipment in an enclosed area such as a home, garage, tent, trailer or place of business – even with the door open. Airborne pollutants in the garage, such as CO from a running engine, can travel into a home or other structure and accumulate, causing poisoning and even death.
  • Check frequently for high indoor humidity and soot or water collecting near a burner or vent.
  • Never leave a fire smoldering in the fireplace and be aware -- the absence of an upward draft in your chimney could cause dangerous CO exposure as well.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home and be mindful that they do expire and need replacement per manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • Have fuel-burning equipment checked and tuned-up as necessary – annually or per manufacturer’s specifications.
Learn more about carbon monoxide safety.

Here’s how to read your meter

How to read your natural gas meter

Sometimes, when a natural gas bill seems higher than usual, it’s easy to quickly assume that your meter is broken or “off.” While that may be the case on very rare occasions, higher than normal gas bills are usually the result of higher energy use. CenterPoint Energy uses Advanced Meter Reading technology that allows us to electronically read natural gas usage while driving by the home without having to enter your property. We regularly test our meters, which meet or exceed industry guidelines for accuracy.

Gas meters measure the amount of gas used by continually filling and emptying compartments inside the meter with natural gas, which moves the dials on the face of the meter, or the index. Your monthly gas bill is calculated in part by comparing a monthly reading obtained from your meter with the last recorded reading on file. The difference between the two readings indicates the total amount of gas used d​uring  that period.

  • Read the meter dials left to right.
  • If a hand is between two numbers, always read the smaller number except when the hand is between zero and nine, in which case you read the number nine.
  • In this illustration dial 1 reads "6", dial 2 reads "1", dial 3 reads "8", and dial 4 reads "7". The correct reading for this meter is "6187"​.
  • Download more detailed instructions (PDF) in English and Spanish.

Carbon monoxide safety tips

CenterPoint Energy Wants YOU to stay safe and smart!

Safe and Smart is a fun, interactive website for students of all ages as well as parents and teachers to learn about natural gas. The website features safety tips by age, from elementary through teens, videos, activity sheets and games designed to increase awareness of natural gas concepts and how to be safe around natural gas. Information on energy industry careers, such as those in engineering, construction and the military, is also on the site.

Visit CenterPointEnergy.com/SafeandSmart to learn where natural gas comes from, how it is used and how to be safe and smart around it and much more.

Don’t be a victim of a utility scam

We work hard to keep our customers safe and actively participate in the national Utilities Against Scams Campaign, which raises awareness of scams by exposing the tricks criminals use when posing as trusted utility workers.

Some common scams include:

  • Disconnection deception: You get a call demanding immediate payment – often requiring use of a pre-paid bank card – to avoid a service disconnection. 

    Our practice is to send bills marked overdue and then a disconnection notice, as well as bill payment options to help keep your service uninterrupted.

  • Contractor con: Scammers posing as utility workers or utility contractors knock on your door claiming they need access to your property to reset, repair, replace or inspect a meter or other utility-related device.

    Our practice is to provide written notice before coming to your home and we also provide proper identification for your review

  • Bogus bills: Scammers send emails resembling a bill and even feature similar logos and color schemes.

    Our practice: You must sign up to request us to send your paperless bills. Do not click any links or attachments in any email or text message unless you have first verified the sender.
These are just a few of the many scams that are being run lately. Be sure to be vigilant and to learn more about scams and what to do if you believe you are a victim of one, visit CenterPointEnergy.com/UtilityScams.

Your customer service champion

We’re proud to be a customer champion!

For the fourth year in a row, CenterPoint Energy was named a Residential Customer Champion by Market Strategies International in their Cogent Energy ReportsTM 2018 Utility Trusted Brand & Consumer EngagementTM Residential Study. Surveys like this help us understand both what we’re doing well and more importantly, how we can serve you better. Feedback like yours is appreciated each and every day.

To give your insights and feedback, connect with us on social media and be sure to add your voice to our Feedback Forum, where you’ll be asked for your opinion a few times each year via brief surveys. Join today.