How to Save Money on Your Heating Bills this Winter

Posted on 12/07/21 by Diamond Fykes

Gas Bills

AARP Illinois knows that many Illinoisans will struggle to afford higher heating bills this winter, and we’re advocating for a reduction of the high surcharges that utilities will charge. As Illinoisans brace for higher heat bills this winter, AARP Illinois also wants to help Illinoisans prepare with these tips for saving money on your heating bills.

Here are some ways to help you stay warm while keeping the cost down:

Weatherizing Your Home

Drafty doors and uninsulated pipes may contribute your sky-rocketing heating bill costs. There are weatherization programs available to assist with this possibly price home improvement projects:

The U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) funds weatherproofing projects for low-income households, with priority given to adults 60 and older and those with disabilities.

Home Performance with Energy Star initiative, which helps households of all income levels make weather-related improvements

LIHEAP

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a government-funded assistance program that helps eligible low-income families with utilities bills. This service primarily assists with heating costs during the winter months, but assistance with water bill costs are also available. Check your eligibility and learn how to apply today. The application period for LIHEAP is currently open and will run until May 31, 2022. Find a listing of all LIHEAP assistance agencies by county here.

Utility Company Discounts

There are various assistance programs available through state-run programs and utility companies. The programs can include monthly bill cost reduction or placing a cap on you monthly bill cost. You can find out about any state-funded assistance programs and the application process by contacting the Illinois state energy office (Illinois EPA).

Budget Billing

Sometimes called average or levelized billing, budget billing does not guarantee true discount. However, it is a way for fixed-income households to pay the same amount for utilities each month. This could help you avoid a big seasonal increase this winter. After averaging your past energy use, your utility company will charge you an equal amount each month based on your projected costs for the year.

You could end up owing money at the end of the year, should your energy usage exceed your energy company's estimate. You should also ask how you'll be reimbursed if you use less electricity or gas than the company expected. Weigh the pros and cons before deciding and be sure to ask if you'll be charged an extra monthly administrative fee for the service.

Additional Resources:

Protect yourself against utility scams and fraud

More ways to save on your utilities

This story is provided by AARP Illinois. Visit the AARP Illinois page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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