FORT WAYNE, Ind., Nov. 10 – Winter and colder temperatures are already here, with the possibility of it getting even colder across our area compared to last year. This could result in higher heating bills, meaning that now is the time for our customers to prepare their home or business.
“Winter always brings the need to run the heat more often, but it can also lead to more use of other appliances that spike energy use. This ultimately has an impact on customers’ monthly energy bills and we want to help,” said Katie Davis, vice president External Affairs and Customer Experience at I&M. “Indiana Michigan Power has dozens of energy savings ideas, rebate programs and payment assistance programs to help customers have a safe and warm winter.”
Winter Energy Saving Tips
Below are 10 tips to stay safe and warm this winter.
- Install a Wi-Fi / smart thermostat. If customers set their thermostat a little lower during winter months, it can reduce heating costs about 3% for each degree of adjustment. Changing the temperature from 72°F to 68°F could lower an energy bill by up to 10%
- In the winter, keep curtains and blinds closed at night to keep cold air out. Open them during the day to let the sun warm the room.
- If a home has electric baseboard heating, keep furniture and draperies away from the heaters and leave at least a three-inch clearance under the heating unit. This is not only safer, but more efficient for the heating.
- If a customer will be going on vacation, lowering the thermostat to 55°F can save energy while preventing water pipes from freezing.
- Setting a thermostat to “auto” means the blower fan will not operate continuously. A 1/2 HP blower fan consumes 3,850 kWh annually if run around the clock. It may only need to run a third or less if set on “auto.”
- Have the heating system for a home or building inspected regularly. A $50-$100 annual tune-up can help reduce heating costs by up to 5%.
- Change or clean furnace filters once a month. Dust and dirt can quickly clog vital parts, making a furnace run harder and eventually break down.
- Install more attic insulation. Upgrading from three inches to 12 inches, and doing proper attic sealing, can cut heating and cooling costs up to 20%.
- Install exterior or interior storm windows; storm windows can reduce heat loss through the windows by 25% to 50%, particularly if there are single pane windows.
- Avoid using space heaters, including electric, kerosene or propane models. Not only are they expensive to operate, but they’re also dangerous.
For more winter tips and ideas please visit www.electricideas.com. There are more than 100 tips and ideas for customers to save energy and possibly money.
I&M also offer programs and more to assist customers both during the winter months and year-round.
Saving Energy at Home
Basics like good insulation and fewer air leaks can make a big difference when it comes to energy bills. Upgrading attic insulation from three inches to twelve can cut heating costs by 20% and cooling costs by 10%.
Income-qualified customers (those who make no more than 200% of the federal poverty level) can schedule an in-home Home Energy Checkup or call 833-566-0583. Over 444,000 kWh of energy was saved by customers who had a Home Energy Checkup in 2021.
If the home qualifies, we can assist in scheduling recommended weatherization improvements with a qualified contactor and may be able to provide up to $3,000 in improvements. For a family of four, the yearly qualification income level for our income qualified program is $55,500.
You can also receive an Energy-Saving Kit valued at up to $50. Please visit ElectricIdeas.com/IQW to learn more and make an appointment.
Local and Federal Assistance
We continually work with local and federal organizations to help our communities. Together, these partnerships have assisted many of our customers with paying their utility bills. Anyone can call 211 for local assistance programs. Customers can also visit MI211.org if you are a Michigan customer and IN211.org if you are an Indiana Customer. These websites can provide a variety of information about utility, housing, healthcare, and many other types of assistance.
Customers can also find a listing of local and federal assistance agencies on ElectricIdeas.com/Home.
Flexible Payment Options
Sometimes all someone needs is a few extra days, and then they can pay their bill in full. We can help, as our payment extension may be the right option to help. Need to spread out payments over a few months? An extended payment arrangement helps a customer do just that. The important part is that you reach out before the bill is due.
With the potential for snow and ice storms hitting Indiana and Michigan, now is the time to get and stay connected with outage alerts and updates.
I&M’s forestry team works year-round to cut and trim trees that threaten power lines, but sometimes Mother Nature wins. Winter winds and heavy snow can topple trees, power lines and cause outages at homes and businesses. Knowing how to get in touch with I&M will save customers time in the months to come.
I&M encourages customers to use the Indiana Michigan Power app to monitor the status of any outage affecting your home or business. IndianaMichiganPower.com/App. You can sign up for text and email alerts on the app or at IndianaMichiganPower.com/Alerts. See the location and status of outages using our outage map at IndianaMichiganPower.com/OutageMap. For the latest updates please follow Indiana Michigan Power on Facebook and find us on Twitter @IN_MI_Power
Keeping information current, such as email addresses and phone numbers, is also important in staying connected. Please visit www.IndianaMichiganPower.com/Account to update yours today!
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Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) is headquartered in Fort Wayne, and its approximately 2,100 employees serve more than 600,000 customers. More than 80% of its energy delivered in 2021 was emission-free. I&M has at its availability various sources of generation including 2,278 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan, 450 MW of purchased wind generation from Indiana, more than 22 MW of hydro generation in both states and approximately 35 MW of large-scale solar generation in both states. The company’s generation portfolio also includes 2,620 MW of coal-fueled generation in Indiana.
American Electric Power, based in Columbus, Ohio, is powering a cleaner, brighter energy future for its customers and communities. AEP’s approximately 16,700 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 224,000 miles of distribution lines to safely deliver reliable and affordable power to 5.5 million regulated customers in 11 states. AEP also is one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 31,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including more than 7,100 megawatts of renewable energy. The company’s plans include growing its renewable generation portfolio to approximately 50% of total capacity by 2030. AEP is on track to reach an 80% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 and has committed to achieving net zero by 2045. AEP is recognized consistently for its focus on sustainability, community engagement, and diversity, equity and inclusion. AEP’s family of companies includes utilities AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana, east Texas and the Texas Panhandle). AEP also owns AEP Energy, which provides innovative competitive energy solutions nationwide. For more information, visit aep.com.
News releases and other information about I&M are available at IndianaMichiganPower.com
Corporate Communications Rep