Because the mild temperatures of fall will soon give way to cold weather, Kentucky Power wants to remind its customers that preparing now for winter can make a big difference in their electric bill. With prices on the rise for many essentials consumers rely on daily, the utility company says the cost of fuel needed to make electricity is no exception.
“Because of the volatile fuel costs, along with the winter months ahead, it’s important our customers prepare their homes and budgets for cold weather,” said Cindy Wiseman, vice president of external affairs and customer service. “It’s our priority to ensure our customers have access to tips on how to be more energy efficient and have information on the tools, payment plans and assistance programs we offer to avoid or manage potential high winter bills.”
Customers can make an impact on the energy efficiency of their homes without jeopardizing comfort by putting these measures in place:
- Have your furnace and ductwork inspected annually. Loose or broken ductwork accounts for up to 35 percent of home’s energy loss.
- Change furnace filters every month.
- Caulk, seal, and weather strip openings from your home to the outside.
- Increase attic insulation. Recommended level: R-38 or 10-16 inches blown.
- Unless it is equipped specifically for home heating, use your fireplace sparingly. Warm air escapes through the chimney. Close the damper when the fireplace is not being used.
- Maintain consistent temperatures. A programmable thermostat can help heat pump customers gradually change settings to limit use of the costly emergency heating mode.
- Open drapes and shades on south-facing windows to let in sun and heat during the day. Close them at night to conserve heat.
Kentucky Power offers several tools to better manage the budget, including the Average Monthly Payment (AMP) plan.
“AMP evens out payments over a 12-month cycle, which is especially helpful for those winter bill spikes, when usage is typically at its highest,” Wiseman said. “Customers who choose this plan know around what their bill payment will be each month and can cancel any time.”
More payment options can be found at KentuckyPower.com/WinterBillHelp. Customers can also find information there about why cold weather causes electric bill spikes.
“In the winter, heating systems run longer, work harder and use more energy to keep your home warm,” energy services senior advisor, Barry Nolen, explained. “When temperatures drop below freezing, your heat pump operates in auxiliary mode which uses less efficient electric resistance heat to help keep your home warm.”
More energy savings ideas are available at KentuckyPower.com/Savings.
Some customers may sign up for payment assistance through Community Action Partnership programs including Kentucky Power’s HEART and THAW winter assistance programs. Customers can find their local community action agency office at CAPKY.org.
The Home Energy Assistance in Reduced Temperatures (HEART) program is available for income qualified customers and provides participating residential customers who have electric heat with $115 of assistance each month January to April. Qualifying customers with non-electric heat can receive $58 a month for those same four months. HEART applications will be accepted by Community Action starting November 7.
Temporary Heating Assistance in Winter (THAW) can assist customers facing a hardship and in need of more limited assistance. Qualified customers can receive up to $175 toward their electric bill. The program is available January through April or until designated funds are depleted on a first-come, first-served basis. THAW applications will be accepted beginning January 9.
Customers who do not qualify for either HEART or THAW and are struggling to pay their electric bill, can still get help by calling the company’s 24-hour Customer Operations Center at 1-800-572-1113 to discuss payment arrangements and options or by going to KentuckyPower.com/Assistance.
“We want our customers to know there are numerous ways we can help,” said Wiseman.
Kentucky Power, with headquarters in Ashland, provides service to about 165,000 customers in 20 eastern Kentucky counties. It is an operating company in the AEP system.