Winter is Here, Connecticut: Prepare to Counter Higher Energy Rates

The weather is colder. Days are shorter. Nights are longer. That only means one thing – winter is here. You turned off the air conditioning and hopefully have made sure your heating system is working well.

That comes with a rub this year, and you may want to rethink your energy usage strategy in the new year. Eversource supply rates are set to double from 12.05 cents/kWh to 24.2 cents/kWh starting Jan. 1, 2023. This is an $84 per month increase for the average user. United Illuminating supply rates are also increasing from 10.6 cents/kWh to 22.5 cents/kWh, resulting in an $83.09 increase for the average user.

As inflation continues to hit wallets hard, what could Connecticut residents do to soften the impact that is expected to be felt by monthly energy bills?

One effective way to reduce energy bills is to set thermostats to 68 degrees or lower, especially on days when the cold isn’t bone-chilling and you can find warmth in other ways. You can save as much as 10% a year in heating and cooling costs by turning back thermostats 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours a day.

The downside to lowering thermostats is the cooler temperature within the house. To counter this, you may dress more warmly and use more blankets at night.  If you work at home, wearing a sweatshirt isn’t an awful thing – it is winter, after all.

You can also make the most of your wood-burning fireplaces and stoves. Fireplaces that generate a decent amount of heat that can keep heating units off for a good amount of time, saving money.  You can even have a fun slumber party with the kids and sleep in the living room with the fireplace on a weekend night.

There are other ways you can keep heat in your rooms to prevent heating units from turning on multiple times a day. Use simple physics, for instance. Heat rises, so set your ceiling fans into the clockwise motion to circulate the heat that builds up near the ceiling and send it to where it is needed most.

Your window blinds and shades can also be a valuable tool. During the day, consider opening interior blinds, drapes and/or shades to make sure sunlight warms the home. Do the opposite at night. Using insulated curtains to cover windows at night can prevent heat from escaping and cold air from coming into the home.

You can also check your doors and windows for drafts.  This can be a major source of cold air.  At the base of exterior doors, you can use a variety of draft blockers to help.  For windows, you can use window insulation tape, weatherstripping, caulk, or other similar tools to keep the cold air out.

These are only a few ways to lower monthly energy bills, but with electricity costs about to increase significantly, they are worth considering.  They will help lower the impact of the price increase and keep your family more comfortable at the same time.

If high energy bills are creating problems, don’t hesitate to visit your local bank, where experts are ready to help you with budgeting, saving, and financing projects to increase the energy efficiency in your home.