JACKSON, Mich., Jan. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- With last week's return to extreme cold, Consumers Energy is reminding Michigan residents to take advantage of ways to save energy and lower their winter heating bills.
"The recent extreme temperatures are leading the homes and businesses we serve to use more natural gas than usual," said Tim Sparks, Consumers Energy's vice president for energy supply. "It's important that people know we're meeting their needs to stay warm, and that we are offering tools to keep energy costs low."
Households served by Consumers Energy can expect to see natural gas bills this year that are 20 percent lower than in 2010.
Sparks offered the following six tips to save energy:
1. Turn down the dial -- Every degree you dial down your thermostat could save 1 to 3 percent on your heating costs.
2. Let the air flow – Keep furniture, curtains and other items from blocking heat registers.
3. Put simple weather-stripping around external doors -- A 1/8-inch crack around the perimeter of a door is equivalent to a softball-sized hole in the middle of the door.
4. Reduce water temperature – Lower your water heating temperature from 140 degrees to 120 degrees.
5. Clean and replace furnace filters – A well-maintained furnace can lead to lower heating bills.
6. Access Consumers Energy's free online Home Energy Analyzer and get more than 100 ways to save on your energy bill at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/energyanswers.
Consumers Energy's natural gas costs are regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission, ensuring that prices are reasonable and reflect market conditions. This helps to provide homes and businesses with reliable energy and stable, predictable bills.
"We use a disciplined purchasing strategy and one of the largest underground storage systems in the country to help provide customers with a great energy value for the natural gas they need," Sparks said. "Our underground storage system allows us to buy natural gas during the summer when prices are generally lower and pass along those savings to you."
Consumers Energy also makes payment arrangements for people having issues paying bills, and can enroll people in its CARE program (www.ConsumersEnergy.com/care) to receive bill credits and more. Or call 2-1-1 to learn about assistance options.
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.5 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
ENERGY VALUE: Learn about the value that you receive from Consumers Energy: www.ConsumersEnergy.com/myenergyvalue
ENERGY ASSISTANCE: Learn about options to help paying bills by calling 2-1-1, or call Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050 to discuss payment arrangements.
SOURCE Consumers Energy