Wholesale prices for natural gas are rising this week, and customers are likely to feel the impact on their bills. Xcel Energy attributes these higher prices to the deep freeze affecting much of the country, which is disrupting production and increasing demand for natural gas.
Xcel Energy suggests that customers may want to conserve natural gas over the next few days as the wholesale cost is directly passed on to them. The company notes that this price increase will be considerably smaller than the one seen three years ago during Winter Storm Uri.
The most effective conservation step, according to Xcel, is to lower thermostats by a few degrees, particularly for those with natural gas furnaces. They recommend setting the thermostat to 65-70 degrees when at home and to 58 degrees when away. Using a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature is also advised.
Xcel Energy offers additional energy-saving tips:
- Maximize Sunlight: Let in sunlight during the day and close blinds at night to keep the cold out.
- Close Exterior Doors: Ensure they are not left open or improperly latched to avoid heat loss.
- Ceiling Fans: Run them clockwise in winter to circulate warm air downward.
- Oven Usage: Avoid opening the oven while cooking to maintain the temperature.
- Water Heater Temperature: Lowering it to 120 degrees can save 3-5% on heating costs. Insulating the water heater enhances efficiency.
- Air Filters: Regularly changing the furnace air filter, especially monthly in winter, can save 5-15% on heating costs.
- Prevent Heat Escape: Check for leaks around ducts, windows, doors, and fireplaces, and use window sealing kits if necessary.
- Improve Insulation: Upgrading insulation in walls, floors, and ducts can reduce energy costs by up to 10%.
For more information on how to stay warm and safe during extreme cold in Colorado, Xcel Energy provides further tips and resources.