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Nicor offers tips to stay warm, save money this winter

1/10/2018, 10:24 a.m.
Nicor Gas is always looking for new ways to reduce costs and drive efficiencies to save money for its customers. ...

Nicor Gas is always looking for new ways to reduce costs and drive efficiencies to save money for its customers. Energy efficiency tools and resources give our customers more control over their energy consumption and bill. Some of those efficiencies can start in the home – little changes can add up to big savings with these weatherization tips:

• Heating systems, water heaters and other natural gas appliances should be serviced and inspected annually by a qualified professional.

• Regularly replace air and furnace filters; most filters should be cleaned or replaced every 60-90 days. A clean filter will allow the system to run more efficiently.

• Open window coverings during the day to allow sunlight to heat your home naturally, and close curtains at night to reduce the chill from cold windows.

• Keep furniture, drapes, stuffed animals and other objects away from heating sources.

• Adjust timer controls and programmable thermostats. Some older thermostats may not have an internal clock and need to be adjusted manually.

• Caulk and weather-strip drafty doors and windows. Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of window frames during cold winter months.

• Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting or electrical wiring penetrates through exterior walls, floors and ceilings. Install insulated gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on exterior walls to prevent drafts.

Every family deserves reliable energy at a price they can afford. But for many, wages have stayed the same while the cost of living continues to rise. That’s why Nicor Gas is proactively working to make energy as affordable as possible for our customers. Resources are available to help offset winter heating costs for eligible customers.

Enrollment for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is underway and will continue through May 31 or until funds are exhausted. The federal- and state-funded energy assistance program helps low- and fixed-income families meet their energy needs during the winter heating season. The program is open to all households with income up to 150 percent of the federal poverty guideline, or about $36,900 for a family of four. In Illinois, LIHEAP is administered by the Illinois Department Commerce and Economic Opportunity. For more information or to locate a local application agency, call 877-411-9276.

LIHEAP eligible households may also take advantage of the Percentage of Income Payment Plan. PIPP households pay a percentage of their income toward their utility bill, and receive a reduction in outstanding utility bills for every on-time payment made.

Other energy assistance programs available to Nicor Gas customers are:

• Nicor Gas Sharing Program provides one-time annual grants to qualified residential customers. The program is administered by the Salvation Army and funded through direct contributions from Nicor Gas employees and customers who can make donations via their monthly gas bill payment.

• Nicor Gas Budget Plan provides a convenient way for customers to plan for and pay their monthly natural gas bill. Customers pay a consistent amount every month for a 12-month period, allowing a credit balance to build up and help offset winter bills that may be higher due to increased natural gas usage.

• Nicor Gas’ energySMART program helps customers manage their costs by lowering out-of-pocket expenses for energy efficiency improvements through rebates for energy efficient equipment, energy assessments and free energy-saving products.

For more energy-saving tips visit nicorgasrebates.com.

For more information about each of these programs or help managing natural gas costs, please visit www.nicorgas.com/residential/energy-assistance.