Below you will find information on the 2022-23 winter pricing forecast and the resources available to help consumers manage their energy usage and related bills, consumer protections, and tips for staying safe this winter season. You can find winter preparedness materials on the bottom of the Consumer Publications Page.
Energy Affordability and Electric and Natural Gas Relief Programs: Eligible residential low-income customers can enroll in the Electric and Gas relief program before December 31, 2022.
For the 2022-23 winter season, in general, electric and natural gas bills are expected to be higher on average than last year. An average residential electric customer using 600 kWh of electricity per month is expected to pay about $75 per month for supply. Natural gas bills are projected to be about 29% higher than last year. The average residential natural gas customer, using 732 therms of natural gas from November through March, is expected to pay about $1201 in total for gas supply. The gas increase is mostly attributed to an increase in natural gas supply prices and anticipated higher usage due to potential colder weather. Actual bill impacts will vary by utility and with the weather: a colder than normal winter will cause usage and bills to increase.
An energy bill consists of two parts: delivery and supply. The delivery charge is the cost to transport the electricity or natural gas to you throughout the utility's system. This fee is regulated by the NYS Public Service Commission (PSC) . The supply charge is the cost of the electricity or natural gas commodity itself. The supply price is determined in a competitive marketplace based on market factors and is not controlled by the PSC or the utilities. Your energy bill depends on how much electricity or natural gas you used and the rate you are paying. In general, the more energy you use, the higher your bill will be.
Factors that affect Commodity (Supply) Pricing
The commodity price of electricity or natural gas rises, and falls based on many factors, including the weather, the balance between supply and demand, the amount and cost of natural gas in storage, and energy demand in places like Europe and Asia. When there is a widespread and prolonged cold spell, overall demand for energy increases, which puts upward pressure on prices. Any change in the cost of the supply can have significant impact on the overall energy bill.
Cold Weather Rules
The Home Energy Fair Practices Act (HEFPA) – also known as the “Utility Consumers’ Bill of Rights” -- provides residential customers with comprehensive protections in areas relating to their energy service such as the application, termination and reconnection of service; customer billing; and complaint procedures.
HEFPA includes special protections and shut off procedures for circumstances where customer health and safety may be threatened by lack of service. Between November 1 and April 15, your provider must make a special effort to determine whether terminating heat-related service will result in serious impairment to your health or safety. The Cold Weather Rules can be found in §11.5(c) of the HEFPA regulations.
Winter Workshops for Community Leaders and Elected Officials
You are invited to watch "one-stop shopping" virtual workshops that were held on November 29, 2022, and January 26, 2023 and included presentations from the following state agencies: Department of Public Service, Energy Research and Development Authority, Housing and Community Renewal, Office for the Aging, Power Authority and Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.
- Energy Affordability Programs
- Financial Assistance Programs
- Weatherization Programs
- Energy Efficiency
- Services for Older Adults
To view a recording of the workshop held on January 26, 2023, please visit the Virtual Winter Workshop 2022-23 YouTube video.
Manage Your Heating Costs
Whether you own your own home or rent an apartment, there are steps you can take to control your energy use and manage your energy bills. Read below for information on bill payment options and financial assistance programs. This information is also available on the Consumer Assistance Fact Sheet under Resources below.
Bill Payment Options & Assistance Programs
You or someone you know may need financial help to get through this heating season. Various bill payment options and financial assistance programs are available.
- Budget Plans - Provide equal monthly payments to help reduce bill fluctuations due to seasonal patterns of energy usage.
- Deferred Payment Agreements - Pay overdue bills in reasonable installments over a period of time. May be available if you have fallen behind on your bill and cannot pay in full.
Financial Assistance Programs
Programs to help consumers with their heating costs.
Government Sponsored Programs
- Energy Affordability and Electric and Natural Gas Bill Relief Program
Eligible residential low-income customers can enroll in the Electric and Gas relief program before December 31, 2022, for a one-time credit to eliminate arrears accrued through May 1, 2022.
- Energy Affordability Program/Low Income Bill Discount Program
The Program provides income-eligible consumers with a discount on their monthly electric and/or gas bills, as well as other benefits, depending on the characteristics of the particular utility's program. You may be enrolled automatically if you receive benefits from a government assistance program. For more information visit your utility website (links can be found in the Utility Assistance Program table below).
- Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
A federally funded program that provides heating grants to help income-eligible consumers pay for their energy costs.
- Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)
A drinking water and wastewater emergency assistance program funded through federal resources. Benefits are based on the amount of unpaid water and wastewater bills owed by applicants. This assistance is targeted at low-income households and income guidelines will mirror that of HEAP. Information regarding LIHWAP can be found by visiting otda.ny.gov/LIHWAP.
- Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
A federal program that provides low income families up to $30 a month towards the cost of broadband internet service.
Utility Sponsored Programs
Payment assistance programs are available through each of the major natural gas and electric utilities. In addition, eligible low-income customers can receive a discount on their monthly electric and/or gas bills, as well as other benefits, depending on the characteristics of the particular utility's program.
View the Utility Companies Energy Assistance/ Energy Efficiency Programs table below.
Community-based Service Programs
Service organizations and local community agencies provide financial aid, counseling services and assistance with utility emergencies. Contact organizations like the American Red Cross (800-733-2767), Salvation Army (800-728-7825), and United Way (2-1-1 or 888-774-7633) to learn more.
Utility Companies Energy Assistance/ Energy Efficiency Programs
|Corning Natural Gas Corporation|
|Liberty Gas (Formerly St Lawrence Gas)|
|National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation|
|New York State Electric & Gas|
|Orange & Rockland|
|PSEG – Long Island|
|Rochester Gas & Electric|
In general the more energy you use, the higher your bill will be. There are simple, affordable measures consumers can take to reduce energy use and become more energy efficient, which may help to lower your bills.
Energy Efficiency Tips
Reduce your home heating costs by:
- maintaining your heating system
- insulating your home
- sealing air leaks around windows, doors and foundations
- adjusting your thermostat settings, and
- following other simple and affordable steps outlined in the Tips for Efficiency - Checklist document below.
Energy Efficiency Programs
In addition to low-cost or no-cost steps you can do yourself, there are programs available through several government agencies and New York's major energy utilities to make energy efficiency improvements to your home or business. These improvements will help lower your energy use and make energy bills more affordable. There are also programs to help low income customers with energy efficiency solutions. For details about their programs, contact:
- NYS Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) offers financial assistance and energy efficiency improvement programs. Call 1-866-NYSERDA (1-866-697-3732) or visit energyadvisor.ny.gov
- NYS Homes and Community Renewal (NYSHCR) oversees the New York’s Weatherization Assistance Program. Call 1-866-275-3427 or visit www.hcr.ny.gov/weatherization.
- NYS Electric and Natural Gas Utilities offer a variety of energy efficiency programs to help their customers reduce their energy use. Contact your utility and ask about its available programs.
Home Energy Assessment
One of the things that you can do to control your bill is to find out where you are losing energy and money. You can conduct an energy audit of your home or apartment that will help show where problems exist and how they can be corrected.
New York State agencies and some utilities offer home energy assessments at little to no cost. A licensed contractor will come to your home and evaluate your lighting, heating, cooling equipment and appliances, and offer energy-saving recommendations. With some programs the contractor will install energy-saving items at no charge, including LED bulbs, smart power strips and more.
- New York Statewide Programs: Visit NYSERDA’s website at www.nyserda.ny.gov.
- Utility Programs: Contact your utility to see if it offers a home energy assessment.
There are many do-it-yourself audits available on-line, such as the US Department of Energy’s on-line Energy-and Cost- Savings Calculators to identify ways to save energy in your home. You can also conduct a do it yourself energy audit.
In addition to tips on managing winter costs, this winter preparedness guide includes information to help ensure that consumers heat their home safely.
There are steps you can take to keep you and your loved ones safe during the winter heating season, including preparing for weather-related outages; using precautions with alternative heating systems such as generators, kerosene heaters and fireplaces; and assisting people with special needs who may be particularly vulnerable during an outage.
Preparing Your Home
Winter Tips: Take the time now to get your home ready for the winter season by following these tips:
Have your heating system checked annually by a professional. This will ensure that your system is working safely and efficiently which, in turn, will save you money. If you heat by wood, clean your fireplace or stove. Have your chimney flue checked for any buildup of creosote and then cleaned to lessen the risk of fire.
- Replace batteries of smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors. If you did not do it when you set the clocks back, do it now.
- Keep pipes from freezing by wrapping in insulation, UL approved heat tape, or layers of old newspapers and covering newspapers in plastic to keep out moisture. Seal any leaks that allow cold air inside where pipes are located.
- Gather and store emergency supplies, including:
- A battery-operated radio and flashlight, as well as a supply of batteries, candles and matches.
- Water, medications and foods that don’t require refrigeration or cooking
- A telephone that does not require electricity to operate
- A list of emergency telephone numbers
- Extra blankets, coats, hats, and gloves
- A first aid kit and manual
- A fire extinguisher
Staying Warm Indoor
Safety Tips: If your heat goes out during a winter storm, follow these tips:
- Use only safe sources of alternative heat such as a fireplace, small well-vented wood or coal stove or portable space heaters. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions.
- Dress in layers of lightweight clothing and wear a cap.
- Close off rooms you do not need.
- Know the signs of hyperthermia (shivering, drowsiness, slowness) and how to treat it (wrap the person in warm clothing, move to a warm location and seek medical help).
- Check on people with special needs (elderly or dependent on life-sustaining or health-related equipment such as ventilators and respirators).
Carbon Monoxide is a deadly gas that also be produced by poorly vented generators, kerosene heaters, gas grills and other items used for cooking and heating when used improperly during the winter months. Protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning:
- DO NOT operate generators indoors; the motor emits deadly carbon monoxide gas.
- DO NOT use charcoal to cook indoors. It, too, can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide gas.
- DO NOT use your gas oven to heat your home -- prolonged use of an open oven in a closed house can create carbon monoxide gas.
- Make sure fuel space heaters are used with proper ventilation.
- Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning (sleepiness, headaches and dizziness). If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, ventilate the area and get to a hospital.
Alternative Heating Sources
Fire Hazards are greatly increased in the winter because alternate heating sources are often used without proper safety precautions.
Generator Safety – follow the generator safety guidelines such as those listed in this publication when operating a generator
- Always keep a screen around an open flame
- Never use gasoline to start your fireplace
- Never burn charcoal indoors.
- Do not close the damper when ashes are hot.
- When using alternative heat sources such as a fireplace, wood stove, etc. always make sure you have proper ventilation.
- Keep curtains, towels and potholders away from hot surfaces.
- Have your chimney checked before the season for creosote buildup -- and then clean it.
- Have a fire extinguisher and smoke detectors ... and make sure they work!
- Establish a well-planned escape route with the entire family.
Kerosene Heaters – If you use kerosene heaters to supplement your regular heating fuel, or as an emergency source of heat, follow these safety tips:
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Use only the correct fuel for your unit.
- Refuel outdoors ONLY and only when the unit is cool.
- Keep the heater at least three feet away from furniture and other flammable objects.
- When using the heater, use fire safeguards and ventilate properly.