New ways to cut the cost of utility bills

With the average utility bill in our area hovering around $115 per month, it can seem impossible to save money during the winter months.

There is good news for those of you hoping to save during this season as fuel costs have dropped.

Propane is down 47 cents to $1.92 per gallon.

Natural gas is down 59 cents to $10.35 per thousand cubic feet.

For 74-year-old Ann Marie Roberts, who lives on a fixed income, the winter months bring added stress.

"It’s hard to pay your utility bills and rent," said Roberts.

In the past, Roberts relied on the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, but State Rep. Jerry Costello says that funding might not be there this year due to the Illinois budget impasse.

"It is an area that the Governor has targeted to cut," said Rep. Costello.  "It’s an area that a lot of these seniors rely on because they’re on a fixed income."

Scott Allen with the Citizens Utility Board says there are still a few ways you can save on your bill: by dropping the heat a few degrees, making sure your doors have a good seal. But, the easiest way to save on your bill may simply be avoiding the mail box.

"Anything you get in the mail, over the phone, or door to door offering a contract to buy electricity from a third party residential supplier, just make sure you understand the terms of any contract," said Allen. "That’s the most important thing to save on the energy bill."

While many third party providers offer low introductory rates, Allen says if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

For more ideas on how to save on your utility bills during the winter months, click here.

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