Company continues proactively notifying customers of tips, tools and available assistance to help manage bills.
Piedmont estimates that its average residential customer's monthly natural gas bill will increase by approximately $30 to $35 per month over the upcoming winter period.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – With seasonal cold weather on the horizon, Piedmont Natural Gas is reminding customers of tips, tools and assistance programs available to help customers prepare for higher winter bills.
“Outside factors like the rising cost of natural gas and colder temperatures are driving up energy bills this winter, and we are here to help,” said Sasha Weintraub, senior vice president and president of Piedmont Natural Gas. “We are continually working to ease any price increases and keep costs low, and we are reminding customers of tips, tools and programs that can help lower their natural gas bills.”
The Energy Information Administration recently reported in its Winter Fuels Outlook, the average household expenditures for home heating fuels will increase this winter because of both higher expected fuel costs and higher energy consumption due to colder temperatures. Piedmont estimates that its average residential customer's monthly natural gas bill will increase by approximately $30 to $35 per month during the upcoming winter period.
As a natural gas distributor, Piedmont purchases natural gas at the best possible price, which is the same price it charges customers. The company closely monitors the cost of natural gas and requests adjustments to its rates throughout the year based on changing market conditions and other factors.
Low- to no-cost energy-saving tips and projects
Natural gas use typically spikes in the winter as customers combat low temperatures to stay warm. Below are tips to help manage your energy use when temperatures decline. B-roll of energy-efficiency measures available here.
- Learn how to reduce energy use. The first step to reduce energy use in your home is to identify and prioritize energy-saving improvements. This can be accomplished through a certified auditor or by performing your own energy audit.
- Seal air ducts. Make sure the air ducts from your home’s furnace and central air conditioner are properly sealed. Ducts that leak into the attic or crawl space can substantially increase your heating and cooling bills.
- Seal your home. One of the quickest energy-saving tasks you can do is caulk, seal and weatherstrip all seams, cracks and openings to the outside. This can save 10% to 20% on your heating and cooling bills.
- Install smart thermostats. Installing a “smart” or programmable thermostat will reduce your energy use while you are asleep or away. Set your thermostat to the lowest comfortable setting to help save.
- Manage water heating. Set your water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or consider installing an on-demand or tankless water heater that only heats water when you need it.
- Consider insulation. Consider whether you need to add insulation to your ceilings, floors and walls. Insulation between the indoors and outdoors reduces energy demand, saving you money while improving the comfort of your home.
Level out your bill with the Equal Payment Plan (EPP) program
This free service helps customers manage their budgets by eliminating high winter bills. The EPP program levels out a customer’s natural gas bills, allowing them to pay a predictable, equal monthly amount to help avoid billing surprises. Piedmont determines this payment by adding up a customer’s annual natural gas usage and then dividing it into the same payment amount each month. Learn more here.
“We remain committed to helping our most vulnerable customers keep the heat on, whether that’s being a resource for steps to take to lower their natural gas bill, or taking advantage of available assistance options,” Weintraub added.
Assistance for customers in need
Piedmont is reaching out to customers whose bills are past due through email and/or text with information about utility assistance administered by agencies in their state and local communities.
Share the Warmth provides funds to local agencies to assist families with their utility bills, no matter the source of energy they use.
The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) provides winter heating assistance to pay for natural gas, electric and other methods customers use to heat their homes. There are many customers who are eligible but do not apply for this annual federal benefit that can reduce winter heating costs for low-income families. Information on how to apply locally: https://thda.org/business-partners/liheap
Piedmont says anyone in need should apply for this and other newly available programs to see if they qualify. For detailed federal and state-specific information, go to piedmontng.com/WinterBills and click on your state.
Piedmont Natural Gas also offers a variety of energy-saving tools to help customers and our communities identify ways to save money and energy all year long. These programs and tools help customers understand what factors are impacting their natural gas bills and emphasize specific actions they can take to reduce the impacts of high winter usage.
Piedmont Natural Gas
Piedmont Natural Gas, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, distributes natural gas to more than 1.1 million residential, commercial, industrial and power generation customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Piedmont is routinely recognized by J.D. Power for excellent customer satisfaction, and has been named by Cogent Reports as one of the most trusted utility brands in the U.S. More information: piedmontng.com. Follow Piedmont Natural Gas: Twitter, Facebook.
Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 28,000 people.
Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2050. The company has interim carbon emission targets of at least 50% reduction from electric generation by 2030, 50% for Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 upstream and downstream emissions by 2035, and 80% from electric generation by 2040. In addition, the company is investing in major electric grid enhancements and energy storage, and exploring zero-emission power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.
Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2022 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “World’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
Media contact: Jason Wheatley
Media Line: 877.348.3612