These states are fighting for lower electric and gas rates for you!

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These states are fighting for lower electric and gas rates for you!
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Think your heating bill is too expensive? Your state could be advocating for your right to pay less when you want to stay warm this winter!

RELATED: What is the best setting for your thermostat during the winter?

Lower energy bills could result from the new tax law

Facing the winter sometimes means facing big hikes in what you pay to heat your home.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), you should expect anywhere from an 8% to an 18% spike in winter energy costs this year!

The EIA’s Winter Fuels Outlook predicts propane users will face the biggest hike (+18%), followed closely by homeowners who use oil to heat their homes (+17%).

Feeling slightly less of a pinch in the wallet will be natural gas customers (+12%) and electric heating customers (+8%).

In light of the steep heating bills you’re likely to face, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is leading a bipartisan coalition of 18 state attorneys general and consumer advocates that want utility companies to pass savings from the new tax law along to you.

In a letter sent to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Healey’s coalition noted that customers could lose out big if energy rates remain static when tax-related winds of change are blowing.

She wrote:

“This new tax [law] gives electric, gas and oil companies a major tax break, and unless FERC adjusts the rates, utilities customers will be overpaying for services by hundreds of millions of dollars.”

(Editor’s note: The passage of the GOP’s revamped tax code lowered the corporate tax rate from from 35% to 21%.)

Fortunately, there is historical precedent for the lower rates the AGs are seeking.

FERC let utilities file for rate decreases in 1987 after then President Ronald Reagan lowered the corporate tax rate from 46% to 34%.

So here’s hoping this happens again!

The full list of state attorneys general and other entities who have signed on to the letter include:

  1. California’s Attorney General
  2. Connecticut’s Attorney General
  3. Illinois’ Attorney General
  4. Kentucky’s Attorney General
  5. Massachusetts’ Attorney General
  6. Maryland’s Attorney General
  7. Nevada’s Attorney General
  8. New York’s Attorney General
  9. North Carolina’s Attorney General
  10. Rhode Island’s Attorney General
  11. Texas’ Attorney General
  12. Virginia’s Attorney General
  13. Connecticut’s Office of Consumer Counsel
  14. Florida’s Office of Public Counsel
  15. Maine’s Office of the Public Advocate
  16. New Hampshire’s Office of the Consumer Advocate
  17. Rhode Island’s Division of Public Utilities and Carriers
  18. Vermont’s Department of Public Service

Simple ways to lower your energy bill

While we don’t know the outcome of this appeal, this much is sure…There are some simple things you can do right now to lower your winter heating bill!

  1. Seal drafts around doors and windows using weather stripping or caulking.
  2. Make sure your attic is well insulated.
  3. Get a water heater blanket if your unit is over five years old.
  4. Use natural sunlight for heating when available.
  5. Put your ceiling fans in reverse during the winter to move rising heat downward.
  6. Make sure your vents are not blocked by furniture.
  7. Get a programmable thermostat. If you really want to kick it up a notch, get a Nest.
  8. Use a humidifier. Adding moisture lets you lower the thermostat without feeling much colder.
  9. Put plastic film over windows.
  10. Try zoned heating. Close off rooms and vents in rooms that are not in use.
  11. Close off your fireplace and the flue on your chimney.
  12. Consider warming your bed with an electric blanket instead of bumping up the thermostat at night.

RELATED: Get ready for an 18% spike in winter energy costs

Are smart thermometers really worth it?

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo has co-written several books with Clark Howard, including the New York Times #1 bestseller Living Large in Lean Times. As a single widowed parent of two young children, he strives to bring unique savings tips to men and women like him who must face life without their spouses. He can be reached at [email protected]
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