In Wisconsin this winter, we’ve already seen a brutally cold stretch in December followed by a prolonged spell of warmer than average temperatures this month.
But given high natural gas prices, winter heating costs are still expected to be a big challenge for Wisconsinites this winter. And electricity and natural gas costs for many in Wisconsin are on the rise, as you’ll hear in our latest podcast.
What’s more, all five big utilities are expected to come back this year to the PSC for electricity rate increases that would take effect in 2024.
In our recent newsletter for CUB members, which you can download here, you’ll find updates about what’s ahead in 2023, and also handy resources like the energy tips below. The tips are also available in Spanish here.
Tips and Tools to Cut Energy Use This Winter
AROUND THE HOUSE
❑ Wash full loads of dishes.
❑ Use a drying rack or clothesline to air dry dress clothes or items that wrinkle easily.
❑ Wash clothes in cold water.
❑ Let sunshine warm your home and open the blinds when the sun comes out.
❑ Use blinds and curtains to keep the cold out, close them when the sun sets.
❑ Layering on clothes will help you to keep the home at a lower thermostat setting
throughout the winter. (Adding a sweater will increase your body temperature by 4
❑ Use draft blockers under doorways, shut ducts going into rooms not in use, and
close the door.
❑ Plug all electronic devices into a standby smart power strip. Unplug household items
when not in use.
❑ Buy a “flip switch” to turn off the power and cut the “vampire load” to an appliance
when not in use.
❑ Turn off lights when you leave the room.
Beyond tips around the house, here’s what else you can do:
CALL YOUR UTILITY TO GET ON A BETTER RATE PLAN
❑ Budget billing plans even out the highs and lows of volatile energy costs by keeping costshttps://cubwi.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/Winter-Tips-espanol-2022-23-420×280.png at a similar amount every month. These plans get adjusted every six months based on cost trends.
❑ See if you’d save money through your utility’s “Time of Use” Rate. These rates charge lower prices for electricity used at nights and on the weekend, and more for power you use on weekdays.
STRUGGLING WITH HIGH BILLS? APPLY FOR ENERGY ASSISTANCE
❑ Consumers who are struggling financially are eligible for energy assistance. Wisconsin has energy assistance as well as rental and mortgage assistance programs to help consumers who are behind on their utility bills. Apply online for Energy Assistance at https://energybenefit.wi.gov/ or call 1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947).
FREEBIES, REBATES FROM FOCUS ON ENERGY
❑ CUB urges customers to reach out to Focus on Energy for incentives and rebates to help homeowners and renters save this winter if they add some insulation or other energy-saving equipment. Focus on Energy also offers free Energy Saving Packs to customers of participating utilities, as well as discounts on smart thermostats and smart power trips through its Focus on Energy Marketplace.
Recent news stories about rising costs and CUB’s perspective:
Electric bills are going up across Wisconsin. Here’s how Wisconsin’s biggest utilities compare
— Karl Ebert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Electricity bills are rising for We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service customers. The same is true for other major utilities.
— Danielle Kaeding, Wisconsin Public Radio
Tom Content of CUB was interviewed live by Kate Archer Kent and answered listeners’ questions during The Morning Show on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Ideas Network. Catch a replay here.
Utility Costs Climbing as Winter Settles In
— The Morning Show, Wisconsin Public Radio