CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In the wake of winter temperatures that have been running as much as 70 percent colder than last year since early-December, Piedmont Natural Gas (NYSE: PNY) encourages customers throughout its three-state service area to practice simple energy saving tips and conservation efforts as a way to manage their winter heating bills.
"Even though our billing rates for residential customers are 9% to 22% lower than they were at this time last year, the colder weather means natural gas usage is likely to increase significantly and will likely result in natural gas bills this January that are 30 percent to 50 percent higher than last year," said Ranelle Warfield, Piedmont's Vice President of Customer Service.
To help better manage your energy consumption over the extended winter period and help reduce your energy bills, Piedmont encourages the adoption of simple, yet effective, conservation practices such as:
- Setting the thermostat on your heating system five degrees lower and lowering it even further when you are away from home for several hours.
- Sealing leaks around doors, windows, pipes and ducts with caulking and weather-stripping; insulating pipes or ducts that run through unheated areas.
- Using drapes, blinds or shutters on all windows to slow the loss of heat through glass; keeping window coverings open on sunny days to maximize the sun's warmth.
- Keeping your fireplace damper closed unless you have a fire going.
For more energy saving tips customers are invited to visit Piedmont's website at www.piedmontng.com.
While Piedmont notes that these energy saving tips and energy conservation practices can help reduce winter energy bills, the Company also realizes that for some customers, these efforts won't be enough. "We know that for some of our customers, the recent cold weather will create a real hardship and we want them to know there are some energy assistance programs out there to help," said Ms. Warfield. She continued, "In all three states where we provide natural gas service, Piedmont has promoted a new program called Share the Warmth Round Up. This is a program where our customers can help neighbors in need within their own communities by rounding up their monthly natural gas bill to the nearest dollar. One hundred percent of the amount rounded up goes into our Share the Warmth Fund which is then used to provide emergency energy assistance to those who most need it in our communities." For a listing of agencies that distribute Share the Warmth Round Up funds or to contact those agencies about emergency energy assistance, please visit the Company's website at www.piedmontng.com and click on the Share the Warmth link on the homepage.
Piedmont also provides customers with a way to spread out their winter heating bills over the entire year through the Company's Equal Payment Plan (EPP). Customers can spread their annual natural gas bill into 11 equal payments based on their previous year's consumption and one true-up payment in the 12th month,. The plan is particularly suited for customers on a fixed income and who desire more consistency in their monthly utility bill. The Company estimates that only 10 percent of its customers are currently on the EPP plan.
Customers are encouraged to visit Piedmont's website for more information about the Company's Share the Warmth Round Up program, the Equal Payment Plan, energy conservation ideas and tips, and other customer self-services such as making payment arrangements, reviewing their billing history, or starting and stopping natural gas service. Customers may also contact Piedmont directly at 1-800-752-7504 for questions about any of the above services or programs. Piedmont's customer care center operations are available Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
About Piedmont Natural Gas
Piedmont Natural Gas is an energy services company primarily engaged in the distribution of natural gas to more than one million residential, commercial and industrial utility customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, including 61,000 customers served by municipalities who are wholesale customers. Our subsidiaries are invested in joint venture, energy-related businesses, including unregulated retail natural gas marketing, interstate natural gas storage and intrastate natural gas transportation.
Additional information about Piedmont is available on the Internet at http://www.piedmontng.com/
SOURCE Piedmont Natural Gas