As winter heating season approaches, PSEG Long Island reminds customers that programs exist to help people struggling with utility bills. There are also many ways they can lower their bills by using energy wisely.
“Colder weather is coming, which will mean higher heating costs. PSEG Long Island continues to work hard to provide our customers with safe, reliable energy at the lowest possible cost,” said Lou DeBrino, PSEG Long Island’s vice president of Customer Services. “To help manage energy use and costs, we offer resources, tips and a variety of energy efficiency programs. We also know many of our customers are struggling to pay bills, and we encourage them to reach out to us to enroll in a deferred payment agreement and learn about available financial assistance programs. We urge our customers to act now, and we’re here to help.”
Assistance available to those struggling with bills
PSEG Long Island wants to work with any customer struggling to pay their bills and help them find a solution. The company encourages anyone with a past-due account balance to call 1-800-490-0025 so a representative can help them develop a deferred payment agreement tailored to the needs of their household.
Additionally, PSEG Long Island wants to make customers aware of the financial assistance programs offered by New York State:
- The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) can provide a heating fuel grant to eligible homeowners and renters depending on income, household size and how they heat their home. A family of four may have a maximum gross monthly income of $5,838 and still qualify for benefits. This benefit is scheduled to open on Nov. 1. For more information, visit https://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/.
- Emergency HEAP, a subset of the HEAP program, offers eligible customers a grant to help low- and middle-income New Yorkers avoid having their home heating disconnected or exhausting their heating fuel source. This emergency portion of HEAP is scheduled to open on Jan. 2, 2024. If customers are experiencing an emergency, they can apply for this benefit by reaching out to their local Department of Social Services location, which can be found here:https://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/contacts/
- For low-income households facing no-heat situations, the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance is also accepting applications for its heating equipment repair or replacement benefit. Eligible homeowners can now apply for up to $4,000 for repair or $8,000 for replacement of a furnace, boiler or other direct heating equipment necessary to keep the household’s primary heating source working. Additionally, eligible households can receive energy efficiency services, which includes the cleaning of primary heating equipment to allow for its safe and efficient operation. Customers can apply for this benefit by reaching out to their local Department of Social Services location, which can be found here: https://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/contacts/
Customers who apply for and receive one of these state or federal benefits are automatically placed on PSEG Long Island’s Household Assistance rate, which provides a discount of more than $35 on every electric bill, along with the Residential Energy Affordability Program providing energy efficiency measures and suggestions to help lower consumption.
How customers can lower their bills
The most effective thing customers can to do lower their bills is to use electricity more efficiently. Here are some helpful tips:
- Replace inefficient incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs since, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, lighting accounts for about 15% of the electricity used in the home, and LEDs use up to 90% less energy and last up to 25 times longer.
- Use a programmable thermostat to automatically manage your home’s heating and cooling needs. ENERGY STAR estimates that properly used programmable thermostats can save the average American household about $180 a year. In addition, PSEG Long Island offers rebates on smart thermostats.
- Lower your thermostat by just one degree to potentially reduce your heating bill. Lowering it two degrees during the day and five to 10 degrees at night will save even more.
- Install timers and motion detectors to automatically manage indoor and outdoor lighting and help ensure lights are not on when they’re not needed.
- Ceiling fans can be used to save energy in winter. Setting a fan to rotate clockwise on low pulls cool air toward the ceiling, pushing warm air down into a room.
- Seal windows and doorframes with weather stripping or caulk, and remove or cover window air conditioners to help to prevent drafts that waste energy and money.
- Reduce “phantom power” by using energy efficient power strips or unplugging electronic devices when they’re not in use. Items plugged into outlets use electricity even when they’re turned off.
- Install a high efficiency air source heat pump (ASHP) to lower energy usage, save money and provide greater comfort in cold and hot months. Robust rebates are available from PSEG Long Island’s Home Comfort Program for ducted ASHP units, ducted geothermal heat pumps and ductless mini split systems. Additionally, PSEG Long Island’s Home Comfort PLUS program offers enhanced rebates for customers who meet certain income qualifications.
More money-saving ideas and rebate information are available at https://www.psegliny.com/saveenergyandmoney/energystarrebates.