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Consumer's Corner:

Energy Saving Tips & Resources:

Preparing for Winter

Take simple steps now to help you and your family manage energy costs better and stay safe and warm when temperatures start to drop. Below you'll find information about natural gas pricing, supply, safety, energy efficiency and more.

DEMAND FOR NATURAL GAS

Your home is one of 63 million in the country that uses natural gas. Add to that, five million businesses, 205,000 factories and 2,500 electric power plants. Natural gas is the cleanest and most efficient fossil fuel. Increased use has helped to address concerns about smog, acid rain and greenhouse gas emissions - key reasons why natural gas has increasingly been chosen to generate electricity.

Today, natural gas meets about 25 percent of U.S. energy needs. With natural gas's increasing popularity and the continued challenge of making sure that supply meets demand, significant economic and weather-related events can cause the market price of natural gas to fluctuate — something we've experienced over the last several years.

OUR ROLE

Neither your local gas system nor its customers benefit from the unpredictability in the energy market. If you buy gas from us, you pay what we pay for it; there's no mark-up. We take significant steps to minimize the impact of price volatility on you, including:

Entering into seasonal contracts for gas supply designed to address price fluctuations, and taking steps to buy and store gas for winter use at times when prices are typically more stable, such as during the summer;

Advocating for energy assistance funding and programs that benefit income-eligible customers; educating consumers about energy efficiency and options to help them manage energy costs year-round; and continuing long-range planning to address future energy concerns.

YOUR ROLE

Nearly one-half of your energy budget is spent on heating and cooling so consider the following:

Prepare for the Winter Heating Season. For safety, comfort and energy efficiency, schedule an appointment to have a qualified, licensed natural gas contractor perform a thorough inspection of your heating system, including the furnace, water heater, all pilots and burner chambers, venting systems and thermostats. Remember that heating contractors get busier as the weather gets cooler, so call today! Replace your air/furnace filter every month during the heating season to maintain the safe and efficient operation of your heating equipment.

The Alliance to Save Energy, which promotes energy efficiency worldwide, states that approximately 15 percent of an average home energy bill is spent on water heating.

For safety and efficiency, use the "low" or settings on your hot water heater - never turning it above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Take short showers instead of baths. Use cold water for laundry, which could save you as much as $60/year. Go to www.ase.org for more inexpensive energy-saving tips.

Caulk, weather strip and insulate openings where air infiltrates your home. It could save you up to 10 percent on your energy bill. On a windy day, find the thinnest piece of tissue to hold up to windows, doors, electrical outlets, plumbing and ceiling fixtures, and attic hatches to determine where air leaks exist.

If you are replacing appliances, look for the Energy Star® label for efficiency ratings. Visitwww.energystar.gov. Don't forget to look for federal tax credits for energy-efficiency upgrades to the home. At www.ase.org, you'll find a chart and explanations.

Important winter safety tip: Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home. Continuous burning can lead to the production of poisonous carbon monoxide and creates a fire hazard.

Look for Energy Cost Savings in Your Own Home Sugar Hill says the key to energy cost savings is managed home energy use. Simply walk around your home to find ways to cut your energy consumption and related costs. Where should you look?

DOORS AND WINDOWS

  • The minute you walk into your home there may be an opportunity for savings. Add weather-stripping tape or foam seals around door jams and window sills to prevent drafts from penetrating through gaps. As much as 30 to 40 percent of a home’s energy requirements are the result of outside air “leaking” indoors. Caulk any cracks in wooden frames surrounding doors and windows.
  • Consider installing storm windows and doors as an additional buffer to outside temperatures.
  • When entering and exiting your home, use the door farthest from your thermostat to prevent it from triggering your heating system. Open drapes and window coverings during the day to enjoy the passive warmth of the sun’s rays. In the evenings close the drapes or window coverings to retain your home’s warmth.
  • If your home features a vaulted or cathedral ceiling, consider keeping the thermostat on the lower floors at slightly warmer temperatures than units on higher floors to take advantage of heat’s rising effect. Install a programmable thermostat and set it to 55 degrees when no one is home, 68 when the family is home, and 65 degrees when sleeping. Be sure nothing is obstructing heating return vents.
KITCHEN AND LAUNDRY ROOMS
  • Turn down your home’s water heater thermostat to 120 degrees. Install an insulation water heater wrap or “blanket” to help the unit maximize its heating capacity.
  • Fix leaky faucets and install low flow showerheads and faucets in older homes.
  • Cover pots and pans with lids when cooking. Adjust the flame to fit the bottom of the pan and keep burner surfaces clean.
  • Wash clothes in warm or cold water only and always rinse with cold water.
  • Only run the dishwasher, clothes washer or dryer with full loads and with the appropriate water level.
  • When drying clothes sort heavier items from lightweight articles for more efficient drying and don’t overload the dryer. Clean the lint filter between loads and be sure the outside vent is free of obstructions.
  • When it’s time to replace these and other home appliances choose the ones with high-energy efficiency ratings.
BEDROOMS AND LIVING SPACES
  • Close off any unoccupied rooms and close heating vents to these locations.
  • During daylight hours open drapery and window coverings in rooms that are occupied or will be used in the evenings, then close them to retain warmth in the evenings.
  • Add area rugs to wooden or hard floor surfaces.
  • Top beds with extra blankets or down comforters for added warmth at bedtime.
BASEMENT AND ATTIC
  • Check the insulation around pipes, walls, and floors. Insulation comes in varying R-values, a measure of its insulating quality. The higher the R-value the greater it’s insulating power, which means more energy and cost savings. Be sure these areas are adequately and appropriately insulated.
  • Be sure to change your furnace’s air filters regularly – once a month is recommended – and have your furnace inspected by a professional at least once a year.

Managing your home energy use is a way to keep this winter’s higher energy prices in check. Sugar Hill encourages everyone to use these simple tips and techniques to help ring up energy and cost savings this winter and in the future.

To learn more about other home energy savings tips, visit the Department of Energy’s “Energy Savers” website at: http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/tips/.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Download Energy Saver$ Tips on Saving Energy & Money at Home atwww.eere.energy.gov/consumer, a U.S. Department of Energy Web site, or call 1-877-337-3463 for a copy.

Go to www.energyhog.org to learn about energy efficiency through interactive games and fun for the whole family.

Energy Saving Documents:

Listing files in 'Energy Saving Tips & Resources'

IF YOU NEED ASSISTANCE:
If you need help paying your winter heating bills, don't wait until cold weather to find out what kind of help is available. Although most fund distributions begin during the winter, you can check on application requirements anytime.

North Gwinnett Co-Op
Provides financial assistance
4395 Commerce Dr, Buford, GA 30518
Contact:    (770) 271-9793

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Provides financial assistance (up to $350.00) and weatherization assistance. 
Contact:     Department of Human Resources
800-869-1150 / www.dhr.state.ga.us

Home Energy Assistance Team (H.E.A.T.)
Provides financial assistance.
Contact:     Home Energy Assistance Team
(678) 406-0212 / www.heatga.org

Project Share
Provides financial assistance.
Contact:     Salvation Army of Georgia
(800) 257-4273 / www.salvationarmy-georgia.org

United Way
Provides financial and weatherization assistance.
Contact:     United Way of Georgia
Dial: 2-1-1

Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA)
Provides weatherization assistance.
Contact: Georgia Environmental Finance Authority
404-584-1000 / www.gefa.org

Directory of Community Action Agencies

Download the directory of community action agencies (pdf file) to find out the name and number of the agency that serves your county.

Additional Resources

  • Atlanta Regional Commission, Aging Services - 404-463-3333
  • Resource Service Ministries - 404-352-5440
  • St. Vincent DePaul Society - 770-458-9607
  • Senior Connections - 770-455-7602, ext. 151
  • Financial Management - Consumer Credit Counseling Service - 404-527-7630 (inside metro Atlanta); 1-800-251-2227 (outside Atlanta); http://www.lssmn.org/debt/
  • Employment Opportunities and Unemployment Payments - Georgia Department of Labor - 404-656-3045
  • Weatherization Assistance - Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority - 404-584-1000
  • Utility discounts for low-income seniors (65 years of age and older) - for electricity consumers with Georgia Power Company, call 1-888-660-5890; for BellSouth Lifeline Assistance Program, call 1-888-757-6500.
  • Also, the telephone service Lifeline Assistance Program may be available for individuals receiving aid such as food stamps, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Call your local telephone service provider to see if you qualify.
WE'RE PROUD TO SERVE OUR CUSTOMERS!

City of Sugar Hill
5039 West Broad Street
Sugar Hill, Georgia 30518
(770) 945-6716