Tips for Reducing Utility Bills During Colder Months

City Offers Tips for Reducing Utility Bills During Colder Months

Colder temperatures can lead to an increase in your utility bill.  Whether heating your home with electric or gas, your appliances will be working overtime to keep your residence warm when temperatures drop.  To avoid “sticker shock” on next month’s utility bill, limit the use of space heaters when possible.  Also, keep your thermostat at a consistent temperature and resist the urge to turn it up.  Add a layer of clothing or an extra blanket instead.

An energy audit can be a great way to identify areas in your home where insulation and other energy saving features can be applied.  In the short term, you can seal air leaks, where you feel cold drafts, by installing DIY plastic insulation kits on windows and by placing draft stoppers along the base of doors.

Please also consider:

Utility Bill Review

First, look closely at the utility bill to determine where the increase has occurred.  The utility bill contains the amount owed for electric, water, sewer, and the refuse/recycling fee.  In most cases, the increase in charges is a result of a higher usage in electricity or water.  During extremely cold periods in the winter months, drafty windows, poor insulation, and space heater usage can result in higher electric usage.  Additionally, some homes use all electric for winter heating which will increase electric usage during colder months.

Utility Insight Program

The Utility Insight program can help determine which utility is causing the excess usage.  Customers can review a current bill summary with usages broken down by electric, water and sewer.  The program allows a customer to view their daily usage, review their monthly billing and usage history, and provides a projection of their next bill.  Electric or water usage can be compared with temperature data to see how usage changes daily or monthly.  The data is displayed in an easy to read chart or table format and can be downloaded by the customer.

After creating a Utility Insight account, customers can complete a series of questions about their home that can help them understand their energy and water usage. Answers are used to provide better recommendations for reducing usage and saving money.  A personal savings plan can be created based off the completed profile & customized recommendations.  Users can then keep track of projects, create a to-do list of the energy and water saving actions they plan to do, mark off which tasks they’ve already completed, and see estimates of how much their efforts can save.  To create an account, visit www.bgohio.org.

Efficiency Smart Program

Efficiency Smart helps customers save on their electric bills and make their homes more comfortable. Efficiency Smart offers discounts and rebates for the purchase of qualifying energy-efficient products as well as advice on how residents can reduce their electric bills. Residents have access to free energy-efficiency guidance specific to their home, an online home energy assessment tool to identify ways to save energy in their home, and an electric usage monitor to measure how much energy their household items use. For a complete list of services available through Efficiency Smart, visit www.efficiencysmart.org/bowling-green-ohio or call 877-889-3777.

Columbia Gas Home Energy Audit

Columbia Gas customers, residing in Bowling Green, are eligible for a Home Energy Audit at a discounted rate.  A Certified Home Energy Auditor will evaluate the home, and customers will receive free energy saving products, a safety check of their furnace, an infrared scan to detect existing insulation levels, and a personalized energy report.  After the audit, the customer will receive rebates based on the recommendations.  Customers pay a flat $300 for all recommended improvements (such as attic insulation, wall insulation, and air sealing) installed by a participating program contractor.  To schedule an appointment, call 1-877-644-6674 or visit www.columbiagasohio.com/everyroommatters.  Homes that are not owner occupied will require owner permission to receive improvements.

Budget Payment Plan

The City offers a budget payment plan option.  The budget amount is calculated based on the total 12 months of utility bills divided by 12 months to arrive at a monthly budget payment.  Budget amounts are recalculated semi-annually.

Muni-Pal & Other Assistance

Muni-Pal is a program in cooperation with the Salvation Army to help local citizens.  When you donate to Muni-Pal, the money goes directly to the Salvation Army office in Bowling Green to help local citizens in need of assistance to pay their utility bill.  The money does not leave Bowling Green and is used solely to help Bowling Green customers. You can donate a onetime contribution, or an additional charge can be placed on your monthly bill.  Residents who need assistance paying their bill should contact the Salvation Army at 419-352-5918.

In addition to the Muni-Pal program administered by the Salvation Army, residents may be eligible for assistance through the Great Lakes Community Action Partnership (GLCAP).  In response to COVID-19, state and federal dollars for assistance with utility bills are being coordinated by the GLCAP.  Residents may begin their application by calling 1-800-775-9767.  Wood County Area Ministries may also be able to help and can be reached at 419-352-1322.  When contacting these agencies, residents are encouraged to leave a message and a representative will return their call.

Residents are encouraged to contact the Utilities Business Office at   or call 419-354-6252 with any questions.  The City can help residents analyze their bill, work through possible causes of high usage, and help answer questions about the Utility Insights, Efficiency Smart, Budget Payment Plan, and Muni-Pal programs.