Looking to reduce winter heating costs or get payment assistance? This could help

Colder temps and more people working from home are likely to drive up energy use

Stay cozy this winter with these tips. (©weixx - stock.adobe.com)

With winter temperatures returning to seasonal normals in Michigan and more people working from home due to the pandemic, residential energy use is expected to rise this heating season.

This combination of cooler outdoor temperatures and higher energy use is expected to drive monthly energy bills higher than last year. Are you ready for it?

If Michigan experiences a typical winter, customers will spend, on average, $65 more over the six-month heating season compared to the same six-month period last year. This number could vary across the state in different temperate regions, but it comes at a time when many Michiganders are faced with job losses or income reduction due to the current economic crisis.

Assistance available

While DTE Energy works to keep energy affordable by passing its actual cost for natural gas on to customers with no mark-up, the company offers several payment assistance programs, including a Winter Protection Plan, Shutoff Protection Plan, and payment relief for those experiencing medical emergencies, for active military personnel and for customers struggling during the pandemic.

The company offers tools and tips to help customers improve energy efficiency and cut heating costs while staying comfortable and safe this winter. Affordable tips such as sealing air leaks, using a programmable thermostat, replacing furnace filters when dirty will improve energy efficiency.

DTE recommends annual furnace tuneups and offers rebates for both the tune up and furnace replacement and can help you find a skilled contractor to get the job done.

Consumers be aware

DTE will never call you or come to your door asking to see your natural gas bill. Michigan residents and businesses have a choice in who provides their natural gas service and consumers may be approached by an alternative gas suppliers (AGS) to switch their gas provider. The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) provides detailed information at Compare MI Gas to help make an educated decision. DTE offers lock-in protection to prevent your account from being switched without your permission.

Safety is a priority

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is called the silent killer because its colorless, odorless and tasteless. It can be fatal. If you don’t already have CO detector ,get one. If you do have one, check the batteries. Natural gas is safe and reliable, but like other fuels, it can produce carbon monoxide if it doesn’t burn completely. The only way to detect CO is with a carbon monoxide detector.

Keep your natural gas meter clear of debris, snow and ice to ensure it functions properly and protects your home or business from gas leaks and carbon monoxide buildup.

If you smell gas, leave the area immediately, call 911 and then call the DTE Gas Leak Hotline at 800-947-5000.

For more tips, visit dteenergy.com/gassafety and dteenergy.com/staywarm. For more details on how to read your energy bill, visit dteenergy.com/newbill.