Wilkes Barre, PA (November 14, 2006) – UGI Utilities, Inc. – Electric Division (UGI) urges customers to prepare now for higher electric rates in 2007 and beyond. As previously announced, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has approved new electric generation rates for UGI, which will result higher electric bills in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Effective January 1, 2007, the average residential electric bill will increase approximately 35%. UGI electric bills will rise again modestly in 2008 (approximately 3%) and 2009 (less than 1%).
According to Robert Stoyko, Vice President – Electric Distribution, “These rates reflect the dramatic increases that have occurred in wholesale electric prices and are driven by the rising cost of the fuels used to generate electricity.”
UGI is urging customers to take steps to prepare now for higher electric bills in 2007. Stoyko stated, “We announced this rate increase back in June to give customers as much time as possible to prepare for higher electric bills. We are extremely sensitive to the impact that this increase will have on our customers, particularly those on limited or fixed-incomes.”
“There are many low cost steps customers can take to reduce the impact of rate increases. We are committed to providing customers with information and suggestions to help them manage their energy bills.”
UGI recommends that customers conserve energy and weatherize homes to reduce their energy bills, sign up for budget billing and apply for energy assistance, if appropriate. Following are some specific suggestions:
Energy Conservation Tips
To request a free copy of a booklet titled “More than 100 Ways to Improve Your Electric Bill” customers may call UGI at 570-830-1219.
• Consider replacing older equipment such as heaters, water heaters, air conditioners and refrigerators with new energy efficient models.
• Reduce the temperature setting on your water heater to 120° F. (If you use a dishwasher, check the owner’s manual for minimum hot water setting.)
• Take short showers instead of baths. Install low-flow showerheads to reduce hot water usage further.
• Cook with a lid on your pots to shorten cooking times. Use the microwave instead of the stove or oven when possible.
• Install energy saving compact fluorescent light bulbs in fixtures and lamps that are on for more than 2 hours each day.
• Install a programmable thermostat to automatically change temperature settings while you are at work, sleeping, etc.
• In the winter, set your home’s thermostat no higher than 68° F, health permitting. Each degree over 68° can add 3 percent to the amount of energy needed for heating. (Homes with elderly, ill or infant members may require a warmer temperature.)
Home Weatherization Tips
• Improving your home’s insulation is one of the fastest and most cost-efficient ways to reduce energy waste. Insulate walls, ceilings and attic completely. Only 20% of homes built before 1980 are well insulated.
• Apply caulk and weatherstripping around doors and windows that leak air. Be sure to seal air leaks where plumbing, ducts and electrical wiring enter your home.
• Install storm windows over single-pane windows or replace them with double-pane windows.
• Wood-burning fireplaces should have tightly fitting dampers that are closed when the fireplace is not in use.
Note: In 2006 and 2007, homeowners can claim up to $500 in federal tax credits for certain home efficiency improvements and high efficiency equipment purchases. Visit www.energystar.gov or consult a tax professional for more information.
• Enrolling in a utility’s budget billing program spreads your energy costs throughout the year resulting in more predictable monthly bills.
• High and low bills brought on by seasonal temperature variations are eliminated.
• Your total annual bill remains the same. However, for most households it is easier to budget for bills that are relatively the same each month.
• There is no cost to enroll in UGI’s budget billing plan. Customers should call 1-800-276-2722 to enroll during any month of the year. Energy Assistance Options
• The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded grant with a “cash” component to help pay energy bills and a “crisis” component to help pay for equipment repairs and replacement or to avoid utility shut off or restore service.
• UGI’s Low Income Self Help Program (LISHP) allows qualified customers to pay reduced bills based on a percentage of their monthly income.
• UGI’s Low Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP) provides free home efficiency improvements to low income households.
• Operation Share is funded by donations from UGI shareholders as well as UGI customers and employees. This program helps customers who have trouble paying their bills due to problems such as low or fixed income, unemployment, illness, injury or death of the household’s main income
• Customers on a limited income should call UGI at 1-800-UGI-WARM (844-9276) for more information on available energy assistance.
UGI Utilities Electric Division serves 62,000 customers in portions of Luzerne and Wyoming counties. Additional information about UGI’s Electric Division is available online at www.ugi.com.