Throughout this winter, residents across the Northeast have been experiencing high costs for their electric and gas bills. This rise in utility costs has led residents to turn down their thermostats, limit their electricity use, and do what they can to reduce their grocery purchases. Despite the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities’ mandate to reduce prices by about 4-5% for some gas customers, residents should still expect higher costs to continue throughout the season. Aside from the lifestyle changes some residents have been forced to adopt, from taking shorter showers to changing cooking habits, there are many resources households can turn to.
See If You Qualify For A Payment Assistance Program
One way to keep your heat and lights on this winter is through a payment assistance program available to income-eligible residents. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides heating and cooling assistance to residents across the country. According to a report from LIHEAP, the program supported approximately 6.7 million households across the United States in 2022. To see if you qualify for LIHEAP, check out the income eligibility levels below provided by Mass.gov.
Along with LIHEAP, residents may be interested in the Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and the Heating System Repair & Replacement Program (HEARTWAP). Both programs provide energy efficiency services to low-income households. Those who are eligible for LIHEAP are also eligible for WAP and HEARTWAP. For more information, call 211.
Talk To Your Utility Company
Another way to lower your utility bill is to contact your utility company directly. By reaching out to your electric or gas company, you can discuss available payment plans or assistance options. As long as you are keeping up with your payment plans, you won’t need to worry about losing your energy. Keep in mind that, similar to payment assistance programs, not all residents will be guaranteed eligibility for a payment plan or debt forgiveness.
Schedule An Home Energy Efficiency Audit
An energy efficiency audit helps households evaluate where they may be losing money on their energy bills by having a professional examine windows, assess utility bills, locate drafts, and more. Getting an energy efficiency audit not only ensures that you save on energy bills but also helps you lower your carbon footprint. Residents can hire an energy auditor through power companies, local utilities, or private businesses.
Though energy auditors usually charge a fee, visit Mass.gov to take a free online energy assessment through Mass Save and find more options to assess your household’s energy.
Install A Solar System For Your Home
As utility bills rise, now is the time for residents to question their dependence on fossil fuels. In recent years, solar energy has increased in popularity and has become affordable, sustainable, and an efficient way to save on utility bills.
When a home goes solar, residents qualify for a selection of incentives from the state and federal government. These incentives include the federal tax credit of 30% for solar systems, the state’s 15% tax credit of up to $1,000, as well as the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program which promotes cost-effective solar development in the state.
Even during the cloudy winter months, a solar system can efficiently provide your home with clean and cost-effective energy to keep you warm. When you go solar, you decarbonize your home and save on utility bills at the same time.
With gas and electric bills rising this winter, residents can take advantage of the many resources available. By contacting your utility company, calling 211, or learning how to apply to a payment assistance program, you will be one step closer to saving yourself money. It’s also important to consider your home energy usage and the effect it may have on both your utility bill and carbon footprint. By incorporating renewable energy into your household and assessing your energy efficiency, you can help decarbonize your home. Take the time to find the necessary help and next steps for saving on energy consumption and utility rates this winter.