PLAINFIELD, Ind., Jan. 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- With Indiana weather forecasters predicting near-zero temperatures and below-zero wind chills, Duke Energy has tips to keep energy costs under control while keeping you and your family warm.
To avoid a high-bill surprise, you can monitor and manage your energy use, even when temperatures drop for extended periods. Here are some things you can do to keep tabs on your energy use:
3 tips for understanding your bill
- Check the number of days in your billing cycle. Most bills are for 30 days, but there are times when the billing cycle is shorter or longer. If there are more days in the bill, it could be higher.
- Look at "average kilowatt-hour" (kWh) use per day. At first glance your bill may look higher, but if your average use is similar to the same time last year or in a month with similar extreme temps, it's a normal bill.
- If you have a smart meter, check online to see if a daily usage analysis tool is available. Smart meters collect usage information by the hour, so checking spikes throughout the month – by day and even hour – can show what appliances and behaviors are increasing your bill.
7 ways to avoid billing surprises
- The best way to avoid billing surprises is to track your use. Duke Energy customers who have a smart meter can sign up for a Usage Alert. Similar to data alerts you get from your cellphone company, you can set a budget amount for your monthly energy bill and receive notices when you are approaching your limit.
- Have your heating system checked regularly to maintain performance. Duke Energy offers qualified customers rebates to help offset the cost of replacing older HVAC units with more energy-efficient ones.
- Leave drapes or blinds open during sunny winter days to allow the sun to warm the house. Close them at night to help insulate your home.
- Replace standard bulbs with light-emitting diodes (LED). LEDs are more efficient than regular bulbs, while giving off the same amount of light.
- Reduce your thermostat to the lowest comfortable setting when at home and down a degree or two when leaving home. If you have a heat pump, set the thermostat and leave it. Lowering it may cause the auxiliary heat to turn on, which is inefficient and expensive.
- Operate ceiling fans in a clockwise direction, which pushes warm air back down into the room.
- Change air filters regularly. A dirty air filter makes a heating system work harder, which uses more energy.
Billing / Payment Assistance Programs
For customers who are unable to commit to specific dates for payments, Duke Energy partners with local assistance agencies across our service areas, who distribute funds to individuals in need. Each state has specific programs and eligibility requirements. See the links below for what's available in Indiana:
- Helping Hand: https://www.duke-energy.com/community/customer-assistance-programs/helping-hand
- Energy Assistance Program: https://www.duke-energy.com/home/billing/special-assistance/energy-assistance-program
Budget Billing / Equal Payment Plans
Customers who have more than 12-months of usage history at their current residence may qualify for one of our billing and payment plans that gives customers the option of levelized monthly payments.
These billing plans are ideal for customers who are unable to pay a large bill now, but can afford to pay the average amount. Please visit the link below to enroll and learn more.
In the event a customer is unable to pay a past due bill, Duke Energy's customer service specialists are available to discuss a customer's situation and provide assistance to meet the customer's specific needs.
Residential customer service specialists are available Monday - Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST in Indiana. Contact information is below:
Duke Energy Indiana -- 800.521.2232
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