TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 23, 2005) - The increase in natural gas prices in North America means that customers who buy their natural gas supply from Enbridge Gas Distribution will be paying more for the natural gas they use this winter. To help customers manage their annual natural gas costs, Enbridge Gas Distribution is encouraging customers to sign up for the Enbridge budget billing plan that helps spread out annual gas charges and to use natural gas efficiently.
"Customers who buy their natural gas from Enbridge Gas Distribution and use natural gas for home and water heating pay less than they would if they were using electricity," said Lino Luison, Vice President, Opportunity Development. "However, our customers don't see this comparison on their bill. What they will see is that the cost for the natural gas they use has increased. Encouraging customers to reduce use and take advantage of the billing plan will help them manage their annual natural gas costs."
Over the past five years, natural gas has been on average about 40 per cent less expensive than electricity. (a)
Most residential customers use about 60 per cent of their natural gas between December and March.
If customers are paying bills based on their monthly natural gas use, this could result in four consecutive high bills creating potential budget challenges. Whether customers buy their natural gas from Enbridge Gas Distribution or a marketer, they are encouraged to help make monthly budgeting more manageable, by signing up for Enbridge's budget billing plan which helps spread costs out over 11 months. Customers will still pay the full amount for the natural gas they use. However, the budget billing plan will reduce the impact of large winter bills and make monthly payments more manageable.
Customers can register for Enbridge's budget billing plan at www.enbridge.com/gas or by calling 1-888-492-5100.
Reduce use to save this winter.
Enbridge Gas Distribution continues to encourage customers to reduce their energy use to help reduce their annual natural gas costs. Between 1995 and 2004, Enbridge Gas Distribution's programs have helped customers save about 1.8 billion cubic metres of natural gas, the equivalent of enough gas to supply 620,000 homes for a year. In addition to avoiding 3.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, Enbridge's programs have helped customers save about $865 million.
Following are some energy efficiency tips that can help customers save money this winter.
Seal cracks and drafts around windows to keep warm air in and cold air out.
Some ways to keep heat in include: caulking or weather stripping around drafty doors and windows; using storm windows or new ENERGY STAR® qualified windows; shrink wrapping existing windows; using foam gaskets and childproof plugs to insulate electrical outlets. This could help reduce gas use by up to 9 per cent.
Reduce the temperature in your home by 3 degreesC for an 8 hour period daily.
Adjusting the thermostat or using a programmable thermostat to reduce the heat for extended periods, such as during the day if no one is home or at night when everyone is in bed, could reduce gas use by up to 6 per cent.
Clean or replace your natural gas furnace filter every three months.
Dirty filters make furnaces work harder and use more natural gas for heating. Regularly cleaning and replacing filters will help furnaces run at full efficiency and could reduce gas use by 1.5 per cent.
Use aerators in kitchen and bathrooms faucets and low-flow showerheads.
Using aerators in kitchen and bathroom faucets and low-flow showerheads will help lower water consumption. If customers use natural gas water heating, this can reduce their gas use by up to 4 per cent.
More energy efficiency tips, as well as a $15 rebate for a programmable thermostat, are available at www.enbridge.com/coupon.
Enbridge Gas Distribution delivers natural gas to about 1.7 million customers in Ontario communities including Toronto, Ottawa, Barrie and Niagara Falls. Of those customers, about 60 per cent buy their gas supply from the utility. About 40 per cent of the utility's customers buy their gas supply directly from marketers.
(a) Based on the annual bill for a typical residential customer who buys their natural gas from the utility and uses 3,064 cubic meters of natural gas a year for home and water heating.
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