Black Hills Energy is currently proposing a rate increase for its Iowa customers through the Iowa Utilities Board. Please see the full article in the Oct. 7 issue of the Public Opinion now available, or purchase an economical online subscription at www.decorahnewspapers.com to view the full story.
As temperatures across Iowa begin to cool, it can mean increased energy use at home, so Black Hills Energy is encouraging customers to consider weatherization projects and small changes to save money on monthly energy bills. “We’re here to educate our customers on ways to save energy and start planning now for higher home heating bills during the cold months ahead,” said Shirley Welte, vice president of operations.
Customers worried about affording their bill are encouraged to enroll in Budget Billing, a free payment plan that averages the amount owed each month. This budget option supports customers looking to avoid the seasonal increases in bills that result during extreme weather by averaging out their usage over a 12-month period.
Black Hills Energy is ready to help customers reduce wasted energy and manage their energy use through simple, easy tips and projects:
• Weather-strip your windows and doors – 7 to 12% of a building’s heating/cooling loss occurs around windows and doors. Installing foam-backed tape around windows and doors is an easy and inexpensive way to keep weather extremes on the outside.
• Seal cracks with caulk – Check the perimeters of windows, doors or where wood siding meets concrete foundation for signs of air leaks. Apply caulk to seal cracks and joints to keep drafts and moisture out.
• Plug up the holes around outlets – Hardware stores sell Styrofoam plugs to seal off energy loss around outlet plugs and light switches inside your home or business. Be sure to follow installation and safety recommendations.
• Keep up with regular furnace maintenance – Your heating system, whether gas or electric, is probably your home’s largest energy user in the winter. It can also be an energy waster if you don’t use it wisely. Clean or replace furnace filters monthly, replace filters at least every three months and have a professional furnace check-up each year.
• Install a programmable thermostat – Installing a programmable thermostat is an excellent way to reduce wasted energy overnight and while you’re out of the house.
• Let the sun do the work – Open blinds on all south-facing windows to let the sun naturally heat your home during the day. Particularly for those spending more time at home these days, this prevents you from having to run the heat 24/7 and will save you from having to turn on additional lights.
• Switch your bulbs – Replace incandescent light bulbs with more efficient LED light bulbs, which use less energy and save money — especially as the days get shorter.
For more ways to save energy and money this winter, visit www.energy-ready.com. Energy efficiency plays a key role in cost-effectively creating a cleaner energy future. Black Hills Energy’s goal is to reduce electric emission intensity by 40% by 2030 and 70% by 2040 and natural gas emission intensity by 50% by 2035.
To learn more about Black Hills Energy’s environmental, social and governance actions, visit www.blackhillsenergy.com/sustainability.