With the winter heating season underway, an average Minnesota Energy Resources residential customer will likely heat their home for less than $600 for the third year in a row, according to the natural gas utility’s most recent forecast.
If the heating forecast holds true, Minnesota Energy Resources expects an average residential customer to pay $557 in home heating costs from November through next April. The projected costs would be the fourth-lowest in 10 years. By comparison, this year’s expected costs would be $326 less than what a typical residential customer paid 10 years ago, and $307 less than customers paid during the 2013-14 winter heating season.
Customers who are looking to manage heating costs have several options, including some that do not require significant investment. These tips include:
• A professional inspection and tuneup of a home’s heating system.
• Using ceiling fans to disperse heat throughout a room.
• Lowering the thermostat’s temperature when asleep or away. Smart thermostats can do this automatically.
• Sealing air leaks by adding weather-stripping to doors and windows.
• Sealing and insulating heating and cooling ducts.
Applications for energy assistance also are being accepted by the state Energy Assistance Program (EAP), which is administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Information about the EAP can be found at www.minnesotaenergyresources.com/home/lieap.aspx.
Minnesota Energy Resources calculates its winter heating forecast based on normal winter weather, which is an average of the past 20 years, and on the price of natural gas remaining consistent on the commodities market.