Energy Savings Programs in New Hampshire

Most people already know that energy costs are going up in New Hampshire, particularly electric rates. The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission has already announced that they estimate residential customers served by the utility companies Liberty and Eversource will end up paying $70 more a month for electricity. Customers served by the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative will likely pay $40 more a month on average.

What you may not know is there are state energy savings programs that can help lower costs for many NH consumers. And with the huge increase in electricity rates, more New Hampshire residents may qualify for a program.

Energy Efficiency Incentive Programs

Saving energy is a great first step in lowering utility costs. There are lifestyle changes you can make to save energy and there are also changes you can make to your home. New Hampshire residents that make energy efficiency improvements can get assistance and special incentives to offset the costs of lowering consumption.

It’s an effort on the state’s part to reduce energy consumption and make energy costs more manageable for more people. Since 2003 the state has offered programs to encourage residents and businesses to invest in energy efficiency improvements that lower demand. One way they do that is through incentive and rebates that lower the cost of energy efficiency improvements. These programs are offered through the state government, public utilities and local organizations.

You don’t have to install a solar panel system to get energy efficiency rebates in New Hampshire – although there are state programs for that. There’s a wide range of energy efficiency programs in New Hampshire that help with improvements large and small.

If there’s only one resource that you use to search for energy efficiency programs in New Hampshire it should be NHSaves. NHSaves publishes an updated list of energy efficiency rebates that are offered in the state as well as programs from the utilities.

Natural Gas Efficiency Programs

In New Hampshire, natural gas that’s needed to heat homes is usually in more demand than the electricity needed to cool homes. So it makes sense that the state utilities have energy efficiency programs for making improvements to reduce gas use.

Energy Audit Programs

If you want to know which energy efficiency improvements need to be made you can conduct a home energy audit. Some programs in New Hampshire will help residents with reimbursements or discounts for home energy audits.

Weatherization Assistance Programs

You can get assistance covering the costs of weatherizing your home through a few programs. If you’re served by Unitil or Liberty utility companies you could get kickbacks for energy audits and weatherization in addition to purchasing energy efficient equipment for the home. Some community action agencies also offer incentives for weatherizing a home.

Electric Assistance Programs

You may not be the one who sets electricity prices, but if you’re a residential customer that needs help covering the cost of your electric bill the New Hampshire Electric Assistance Program (EAP) is a valuable resource. Those who qualify can get a discount of 8-76% on their electric bill. How big the discount is depends on household income and size. The Electric Assistance Program is a 12-month program so recipients will need to reapply each year.

Gas and Fuel Assistance Programs

In the winter time in New Hampshire, natural gas and other heating fuels can really escalate in price. Unfortunately, natural gas and other fuels are absolutely necessary for keeping a home safely livable. That’s why the state and utilities offer a few different programs specifically for heating-related costs.

Gas Assistance Program

Liberty Utilities and Unitil-Gas customers can get the delivery portion of their natural gas discounted by 60% if they qualify for the Gas Assistance Program. Qualifying for the Gas Assistance Program depends on whether you qualify for other state assistance programs such as the Fuel Assistance Program.

Fuel Assistance Program

If you heat your home with natural gas or another type of fuel you may still qualify for financial assistance to offset heating costs through the Fuel Assistance Program (FAP). FAP is part of the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). In addition to getting $158 to $1,575 off fuel costs, the program helps provide emergency fuel delivery and can delay a shut-off.

Qualifying for FAP is a little more involved than other programs. In addition to household size and gross income, eligibility depends on housing type, energy costs and how many heating degree days there are for your area. If you need to replace or repair a tank for storing heating oil you may be able to get help covering the cost through the SAFETANK Financial Assistance Program.

Community Action Agencies

If you need help figuring out if you’re eligible for any of these programs, then contact your local community action agency. There are six community action agencies in New Hampshire that provide assistance to low-income families in an effort to combat poverty and uplift low-income communities. The agencies have their own energy assistance initiatives that are aimed at helping reduce heating and electric costs for those in need. They can also help residents learn about federal and state financial assistance programs.

Provider Power can help customers determine if they qualify for energy saving assistance programs on top of signing up for competitively priced fixed rate energy plans. Check to see which Provider Power New Hampshire energy plans are available in your area.

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Choosing an Energy Supplier in New Hampshire

Choosing a New Hampshire energy supplier is a benefit of living in a deregulated energy market. But that also means if you want to find the best energy plan you’ve got to do a little legwork.

Savvy energy consumers know that comparison shopping is the best way to get a plan that fits your budget, needs and preferences. Consider this your cheat sheet with the specific steps for comparing New Hampshire energy suppliers.

Step 1 – Read Reviews for New Hampshire Retail Energy Suppliers

One of the best places to start when you’re choosing any kind of service provider is customer reviews. The reviews will give you the best idea of what it’s like to be an actual customer. When you’re looking at the reviews, start with the most recent ones. Those are going to be the most accurate depiction of how the company currently operates. It’s best to stick with REPs that have a rating of at least three stars or higher.

One thing to keep in mind is the number of reviews a retail energy supplier has. If a company has a 3.8 rating after 7 reviews it’s not quite as good as having a 3.8 rating with 42 reviews.

Step 2 – Find Out If There Are Consumer Complaints With the New Hampshire PUC

Next, it’s time to look into whether or not there are consumer complaints against local retail energy providers. Check to see what the complaint was about and how it was resolved. Every state will have departments that regulate and oversee retail energy suppliers. Part of their job is handling consumer complaints.

In New Hampshire the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) takes on that role. Energy consumers can file a complaint with the New Hampshire PUC by phone, email or mail.

The Better Business Bureau is another resource for consumers. You can find out if there are complaints against a company as well as other details like when the company was established.

Step 3 – Look Up Average Energy Rates in Your Area of New Hampshire

Knowing the average energy rates for your area is the only way of knowing which providers offer a fair, competitive rate. Energy rates vary from one market to the next, so even the state average may not be the norm for your area. For reference, the average electricity rate in New Hampshire in May 2022 was 22.41 cents per kilowatt-hour. You can check with for the latest state electricity and natural gas averages then drill down to your market.

There are a few things that influence New Hampshire energy rates:

  • The energy source
  • Type of rate (fixed or variable)
  • Incentives and programs that can lower the end cost

Step 4 – Visit the Websites of Local Retail Energy Suppliers

There are some websites that offer energy plan comparison tools. While these are a great way to figure out who provides energy in your market, it’s not the best way to choose a retail energy supplier. Those tools may not have the most up-to-date information or all of the plans that a supplier offers. They also don’t give you a feel for how the company operates.

Step 5 – Compare Energy Plans From at Least Three Suppliers

Once you’ve checked out the sites, it’s time to select your top three New Hampshire energy suppliers to compare them side-by-side. Who has the lowest energy rates? Who has the best customer service? Does a provider have special benefits or features?

Make a list of your needs and top wants. Now one by one see if a provider meets each criteria. In the end, you’ll want to have a clear idea of which provider checks the most boxes for your personal needs and wants.

Step 6 – Contact the Provider With the Best Energy Plan

After the comparison shopping is done you’ll know which energy plan is the best option for your situation. The final step is to contact the provider to verify all of the details and learn what you need to do next to get set up on an energy plan. They’ll be happy to help you through the process of signing up and getting your utilities set up.

At Provider Power we can make it easy for New Hampshire residents to sign up for a new energy plan or switch from their existing plan. Check out the current offers to compare our competitively priced fixed rate energy plans in New Hampshire.

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Who Sets Electricity Prices?

We all use electricity every day, and we pay an energy bill every month. But who is it that decides how much you pay for that electricity?

The answer to that question isn’t straightforward because it turns out there are a number of entities that influence electricity prices. By the time you’re given a retail electric rate, the electricity you purchased has already been bought a few times, and that impacts the price you pay at home. 

Let’s take a look at how electricity pricing is determined, starting with factors that can influence prices before electricity is generated.

Regulations Related to Energy Costs (State Government)

There’s one entity that plays a major role in the price of electricity long before it’s generated and delivered. The state government has a hand in electricity pricing no matter whether you’re in a deregulated or regulated energy market.

Each state has a public utilities commission (PUC) or department that’s in charge of overseeing the consumer energy market. One of their top priorities is keeping retail energy prices (what you pay) in check. Typically, PUCs will put a cap on transmission fees that utilities charge for delivering electricity. This helps to keep energy costs in check for consumers.

However, regulations vary by state. Some states have full regulation over wholesale and retail electricity prices. Other states don’t regulate generator fees or utilities at all.

The Cost of Energy Sources Used to Create Electricity (Fuel Providers)

Where your electricity comes from has a huge influence on the price. Electricity can be a natural phenomenon in the form of lightning, but it’s largely manmade. We’ve figured out how to generate electricity using a variety of fuel sources, and that’s where the costs begin. In order to create electricity one of the following is needed:

  • Natural Gas
  • Renewable Resources (hydropower, solar, wind, biomass, etc.)
  • Petroleum
  • Coal
  • Nuclear Power

So, fuel providers are the first to influence the actual price of electricity based on the rate that they charge electricity generators for their fuel. The fuel providers are setting their prices based on the cost of extraction as well as the current supply and demand for their fuel, which can be a global measure these days. Supply and demand is also heavily dependent on the weather.

The Cost of Generating Electricity – (Power Plants/Generators)

Fuels can’t produce energy on their own. They must go through a process to be converted to energy, and that requires expensive infrastructure. Power plants must be constructed, operated and maintained in order to generate electricity.

The cost of doing that is factored in with the price of the fuel source to determine the rate the electricity generator charges local utilities and retail energy providers. This is what’s known as the wholesale price of electricity.

The Cost of Getting Electricity to a Home or Business (Retail Energy Providers and Utilities)

Once the fuels are sourced and the electricity is generated there’s still more to do, which means there are more costs involved that increase the price of electricity. There are one or two primary players involved at this point: utilities and retail energy providers (REPs).

Regulated Energy Markets

In a regulated energy market there are no retail energy providers. Consumers have to simply go with the energy plans offered by the local utility that’s based on the rates they negotiate with electricity generation companies. That means the electricity prices that all consumers in the area pay is largely dependent on what the utility pays.

You’ll see another fee on your electric bill from the utility company. The utility company will charge a delivery fee or transmission fee. This is an additional fee that all consumers pay to cover the cost of maintaining power lines and distribution systems for delivering electricity.

Deregulated Energy Markets

In a deregulated energy market there are retail energy providers that work with consumers to establish electric service instead of the local utility. Each provider negotiates with electricity generators to get the best rate possible. The rates they pay are the basis for the rates they offer on consumer electricity plans. This model helps to increase competition and encourages REPs to secure the lowest rate possible.

Consumers in deregulated markets will also have to pay the utility delivery or transmission fee. That’s a set price that should be the same every bill no matter what electricity plan you choose.

Energy Plan Comparison Shopping (Consumers)

In a regulated market, consumers aren’t going to have much of an influence over electricity rates. They have to simply accept what the utility has to offer, but that isn’t the case in a deregulated market.

In deregulated markets, consumers are going to have an impact on the electricity price they pay because they have the ability to comparison shop. They have the power to pass up REPs that are charging high rates and look around for the best price per kWh. Ultimately, consumers in deregulated markets help determine retail energy prices based on what they are willing to pay. The more consumers comparison shop the lower rates will be because the REPs have to compete to attract customers.

As you can see, electricity prices are a moving target because there are so many variables and people involved. What one entity pays up the line will have an impact on the prices others pay further along in the distribution process.

It’s time to play a role in the electricity prices you pay in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine! Provider Power energy plans offer a fixed rate so you know what you’re paying every month. Use your zip code to start comparing energy plans!

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Save on your electric bill by making improvements to your home Insulation

When you are trying to reduce energy use it’s a good idea to increase insulation. Even if your home already has insulation, there could still be ways to add more or increase the efficiency. If you want to know which home insulation improvements you’re most likely to notice on your electric bill then keep reading. 

Audit Before You Insulate

As the Department of Energy suggests, it doesn’t hurt to start with a home energy audit. This will tell you where your insulation is adequate and where it can use improvement. The audit is great at helping you prioritize improvements, especially if you’re insulating on a budget

Check Out the Attic First

Did you know that the attic is where most heat loss occurs in a home? That’s why adequate attic insulation is an energy efficiency essential. If there’s no insulation then that’s a clear indication it’s needed. But even if you have attic insulation it still night not be enough.

A rule of thumb is that the insulation should be up to the top of the rafters. You could also go one step further by using spray foam insulation to fill in gaps and corners. The Department of Energy has a handy Home Energy Saver tool to help you figure out how much insulation you need.

Upping the R-Value

You may have insulation in your attic, but what is the R-value? R-value indicates how well insulation keeps the heat in or out. The higher the R-value is the more insulation it provides. 

R-value is partially based on the thickness of the insulation. What the insulation it’s made of and density also make a difference. R-value is per inch. So if you’re aiming for an R-value of 50 using insulation with an R-value of 5 you need 10 inches of insulation. But if the R-value of the insulation is 10 per inch you’d only need 5 inches of insulation. 

Placing Insulation Over the Attic Door

The square opening to the attic isn’t that big, but it can allow a lot of cold and hot air to seep inside a home. When you add insulation in the attic make sure to affix insulation to the door as well. 

Add Insulation Around Pipes

Heating up water drives up electric bills, especially in the winter. You don’t have to settle for increased energy use when it’s cold out. Insulating the pipes helps decrease the workload since the water inside is up to 4 degrees warmer. Focus efforts on insulating pipes in the basement, garage and exterior of the home. 

Insulate Around Long Ducts

When the air leaves your furnace it’s nice and warm. As it travels through the ductwork it can become cooler providing less heat once it reaches the living spaces. One easy fix is to add insulation around long ducts. These long stretches are where the most heat is lost. First patch up any air leaks in the ducts before adding the insulation. 

Insulate in Crawl Spaces

If your home is built in a pier and beam system you may have noticed that the floors are cold even when the heater is on. It’s often an energy efficiency problem in older homes. Cold air underneath the home can make the house feel cooler inside. But if you have access to the crawl space you can add insulation to make it feel warmer. 

However, don’t make the mistake of thinking you just need to focus on the underside of the floors. Use rigid foam board around the walls of the foundation to keep the cold out. 

Go the Extra Mile With Insulated Electrical Plates

If you’ve already insulated the attic and are looking for other ways to up the insulation factor take inventory of the electrical plates on the walls. There are insulated outlet plates and switch plates that seal up the tiny cracks in the walls that let cold and hot air from outside seep inside. It might not seem like much, but each insulated plate adds up. All you have to do is switch out the old plates with insulated plates and add a little spray foam to eliminate heat loss.

Make your energy payments more predictable with a fixed rate electricity plan from Provider Power. With a fixed rate plan it’s easy to know when home improvements have a positive impact on your bill. See which plans are currently available in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts. 

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5 Energy Saving Tips for Fighting the Effects of Cold Weather

The latest Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) revealed that heating our homes is one of the largest portions of an electric bill. Space heating accounts for 15% of total residential energy use

When it’s cold outside the HVAC system has to work harder to keep a home at a constant temperature. That means energy use is going to increase even if you don’t bump the thermostat up a few degrees. But that doesn’t mean your energy bill has to increase. There are steps you can take to combat the cold weather without increasing energy use.  

Cold Weather Combat Strategy #1 – Layer Up

If it feels a little chilly inside the first thing you should do is put on an extra layer of clothes or grab a blanket. Even though we’re warm blooded creatures, people can acclimate somewhat to the cold. Multiple studies by the U.S. Army have definitively shown that if we’re exposed to the cold on a regular basis we’ll get used to it. 

So throwing on a coat or blanket when you get chilly is a great solution for warming up quickly while still getting exposure to the cold to help you adjust without the extra layers.

Cold Weather Combat Strategy #2 –  Adjust the Temperature Down Before Bed

Now that you’re bundled up, dropping the temperature on the thermostat by at least a few degrees shouldn’t be too painful. Actually, adjusting the temperature down before bed could help you sleep better. 

Researchers have found that the ideal sleeping temperature is 60-67 degrees. At this temperature REM sleep is more stable. 

The Department of Energy has estimated that for each degree that the temperature is lowered you’ll use 3% less energy. So if you like the winter thermostat settings to be 74 degrees when you’re awake, but can lower the temperature to 64 when you’re sleeping, then you’ll use 30% less energy during those hours. You can use this same strategy when there’s no one at home to reduce energy use even more. 

Cold Weather Combat Strategy #3 – Use Ventilation to Your Advantage

Energy efficiency is impacted by the ventilation and airflow in your home. You could spend energy heating a guest bedroom that has no one in it, or you could close off the vents and there’s a little less space the HVAC system has to heat. And if you have crawl spaces under the house, close off the foundation vents to keep the cold from seeping up through the floors.

Cold Weather Combat Strategy #4 – Minimize the Use of an Energy Efficient Electric Heater

The goal is to reduce energy use, so using an additional device is somewhat counterintuitive. However, in some cases using an energy efficient electric heater can be beneficial if it means the thermostat doesn’t get turned up. They can also be useful in garages and additions that aren’t tied into the HVAC system.

Even though it costs less than a quarter an hour to run, the electricity use adds up.  Space heaters can also be a serious safety hazard if not used correctly. It’s best to minimize use as much as possible, and never leave a space heater on when you’re not in the room. 

Cold Weather Combat Strategy #5 – Monitor Your Energy Use

It’s a good idea to monitor your home energy use throughout the year to help control the costs. Regular monitoring will tell you if energy consumption is going up and can even help you identify ways to save. One of the biggest advantages of monitoring energy use is you’ll spot a problem quickly before it costs you a lot of money. You can also figure out more ways to reduce energy use when you look at what is using energy in the home. 

Combat the cold weather energy increases with a fixed rate plan from Provider Power. We make your utility bills more predictable by offering a locked in rate for 12+ months. See if Provider Power energy plans are available in your area.

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5 Tips to Reduce Winter Energy Use Without Sacrificing Comfort

Have you lowered the programmable thermostat by 10 degrees when you’re asleep or away from home? Doing so can lower energy use in the winter by around 10%, but you don’t have to turn the temperature down further to keep conserving energy. 

Try these five tips to reduce winter energy use without sacrificing comfort. 

Put Weather Stripping Around the Doors

One of the easiest ways to reduce winter energy use is adding weather stripping around the doors. Weather stripping is inexpensive, easy to install and effective at preventing cold drafts. You probably already have weather stripping around the doors, but if it’s more than a year or two old there’s a good chance it needs to be replaced. Here’s how to replace your weather stripping:

  • Remove the old weather stripping. 
  • Clean the door jam so there is no glue left. 
  • Place the new weather stripping in the slot around the door jamb starting at the bottom.
  • Once you reach the corner at the top, cut the weather stripping so that it creates a seal all the way up.
  • Place the next piece of weather stripping above the door starting at the piece that was just installed.
  • Cut the top piece to fit all the way across.
  • Finally, install weather stripping on the remaining side of the door, cutting to fit at the very bottom.

Weather stripping should be installed around all exterior doors. If you have a garage connected to the house it’s a good idea to put weather stripping around the garage door as well. It only takes about 10 minutes per door to replace the weather stripping so this DIY energy saver is well worth your time. 

Insulate and Seal Air Leaks

Insulating and sealing air leaks is a powerful energy saving combination. Not only does it reduce the amount of cold air that seeps inside, it also helps to control moisture that can reduce energy efficiency. 

You’ll want to seal around the entire home, not just the windows and doors. Basically anywhere there’s a crack, crevice or gap that allows air from the outside to get it should be sealed with caulk. This includes around pipes, gaps in the siding and around outlets. 

Adding insulation in the attic also helps. You need at least six inches of insulation on the attic floor to prevent cold air from seeping into the heated part of the house. If you do the project yourself the reduction in energy use should quickly offset the cost of the insulation.

Change the Furnace Filter

One of the simplest and cheapest ways to reduce energy use is regularly changing the furnace filter. The filter helps to trap contaminants as the air circulates through the HVAC system. Over time the contaminants build up in the filter and it can restrict airflow. If that happens it will make the furnace work harder to do its job and as a result more energy is used. It could also strain equipment to the point that it becomes damaged or the lifespan is shortened.   

Furnace filters should be replaced at least every three months. However, during the winter when the furnace is used more the furnace filter should be changed every month. 

Put Your Fans on the Winter Setting

Many people don’t know that most ceiling fans turn in both directions, and one direction is better for the winter. If your fan has a reverse setting switch you can set it to turn the blades clockwise in the winter months. This will create an updraft that pushes the hot air downward to the people below. So instead of cooling people off, it helps warm people up without needing to turn up the temperature on the thermostat.

Adjust Vents Accordingly

Airflow isn’t just an issue with the furnace filters and fans. The vents around your home can also impact energy efficiency in the winter. You can reduce winter energy use by:

  • Closing vents in rooms that aren’t being used.
  • Keeping the vents clean and free of debris.
  • Making sure nothing is in front of the vents.

There are also vents on the outside of the home. You’ll want to seal around these vents to prevent air leaks. 

Provider Power is here to help families in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts find reliable fixed rate energy plans this winter. You can find available plans in your area using just your zip code. Try it today to see the current rates!

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Saving Energy as the Temperature Drops and Natural Gas Prices Rise

All of the forecasts are predicting that this winter will be relatively easy in some parts of the northeast and potentially rougher in others. The Farmer’s Almanac, NOAA and AccuWeather are all forecasting a cold winter that’s similar to last year. Once again La Nina is going to bring precipitation and the possibility of winter storms that should be less severe than last year’s Winter Storm Uri. 

The start of December was more mild than normal, but meteorologists believe that’s the last of the winter reprieve. And natural gas prices are expected to increase regardless of whether the winter is warmer overall simply because it will get colder. As the temperature drops, the demand for natural gas goes up along with the prices. Believe it or not, the price of natural gas impacts the price of electricity in general. Today, much of our electric supply is generated using natural gas. 

Don’t worry, Provider Power is here to help you get through the winter comfortably while keeping energy costs in check. In addition to offering fixed-rate energy plans that aren’t subject to price swings, we’ve gathered together some of our best tips in one master energy saving list. Bookmark it so you can use it as a go-to resource all winter long!

How to Reduce Energy Use at Home – These five easy tips are the first thing you should do to lower energy consumption at home this winter.

5 Simple & Clever Ways to Minimize Your Energy Usage  – Here are five more ways to reduce energy use once you’ve put the first five energy saving tips into practice. 

Best Thermostat Settings for Fall and Winter Weather – Simply setting your thermostat correctly for the winter can lower the energy used for heating by as much as 10%. 

10 Tips to Save Energy This Fall and Winter – Start saving more energy with these 10 proven ways to reduce electricity and natural gas use during the winter season. 

5 Questions You Should Ask When Shopping for Energy Efficient Appliances – If you plan to take advantage of holiday and end-of-year sales this post will tell you how to find the most energy efficient appliances. 

How Smart Appliances Can Cut Your Electricity Bills – Want a reason to invest in smart appliances? Here’s how they can help you save energy during the wintertime. 

How to Use Your Appliances Efficiently – When you have your appliances set up this post will help you maximize the energy efficiency to reduce your use. 

5 DIY Ways to Insulate Your Home on the Cheap – Adding insulation is one of the most effective ways to lower energy use without sacrificing comfort. Here are some ways you can DIY the job and save money. 

5 Tips to Getting More Warmth Out of Your Fireplace – Cozying up to the fireplace is the most enjoyable way to lower energy use while staying warm. Here are a few ways to maximize the warmth. 

5 Energy Saving Apps That Can Make Your Home More Efficient – There’s an app for that! These five apps are designed to help you save energy.

How to Make an Old House More Energy Efficient – If you have an older home this post is a must-read that’s full of advice on what you can do to increase energy efficiency.

Energy Efficiency Resolutions for the New Year – Start the year off right with these energy saving New Year’s resolutions that will help you reach your goals.

Check back often because we add energy saving resources to the Provider Power blog regularly. Every season you’ll find new ways to save! You can also contact the customer care team to learn more about fixed rate energy plans in New England that could be better suited for your lifestyle at home. 

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What’s Happening With The Natural Gas Price Increase and What It Means for Consumers in New England

As the winter season takes hold of the northeast, people retreat indoors to the warm comfort of their heaters. Last year everyone enjoyed low natural gas rates as the demand shrank due to the pandemic and a relatively mild winter. This winter is a completely different story.

Natural gas prices have already been on the rise since the start of fall. It’s a clear signal that the cost to heat a home will be much higher this year. But why exactly is the price of natural gas climbing?

The rising natural gas and energy prices aren’t caused by any one thing but rather a perfect storm of events. There are three primary factors at play:

  • There is a rising demand around the world for natural gas.
  • Natural gas production has been impacted by the pandemic and there is a shortage of natural gas.
  • Meteorologists predict it will be colder this winter. 

In short, right now natural gas demand is higher than supply, and the demand is likely to keep outpacing supply into the winter. That means wholesale pricing at the commodity level is increasing, and those higher prices trickle all the way down to the end user.

The volatility of natural gas prices can be difficult to deal with, but we’re here to help customers understand the natural gas situation and how it affects their energy plan.  

How Much More You’ll Spend Depends on the Heating Source and Winter Weather

By now you’re probably wondering how much more you’ll pay to heat your home this winter. That all depends on three things: your energy plan, your energy source for heating and how cold it gets.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) monthly Winter Fuels Outlook for October 2021 highlights the dramatic increase in heating demand sources and how the winter weather will affect costs. 

Here’s a breakdown of the anticipated market data and price increase by heating source:

Electricity – 6%

Natural Gas – 30%

Heating Oil – 43%

Propane – 54%

Even the increase in electricity costs during winter is related to the price hikes in natural gas because natural gas is the primary fuel for generating electricity as well. That means consumers will likely see higher energy bills this summer when they start turning on their air conditioners. 

Since the temperature is such a significant contributing factor the EIA provided a few additional estimates to help people guesstimate their future heating costs.

If the winter is 10 degrees warmer than expected the increase in price will be less significant:

Electricity – 4%

Natural Gas – 22%

Heating Oil – 30%

Propane – 29%

If the winter is 10 degrees colder than expected the increase in price will be even higher:

Electricity – 15%

Natural Gas – 50%

Heating Oil – 59%

Propane – 94%

It should be noted that the EIA statistics are based on the national average for natural gas. Fortunately for those living in New England, the current rates are right in line with the national average so the numbers should be fairly accurate for residents in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. However, the average cost per thousand cubic feet does creep higher than average in November, December and January when winter is in full swing. 

What Consumers Can Do: Check Your Contract

All this information can seem a bit bleak for end users that don’t have much control over commodity prices. A lot of people simply swallow the extra expense and cut energy consumption as much as possible. But there’s something else you can do to potentially avoid the rising natural gas prices.

Every consumer should check their energy contract to figure out if now is the time to switch plans or possibly renew an existing plan to lock in a lower rate. You’ll likely fall into one of three categories:

You have a variable rate energy plan. Customers with variable rate plans are the people who will likely see the biggest increase in their energy bills. These plans are very sensitive to price changes since the rates change from month to month based on current market prices. Look to see when the variable rate plan expires. If it’s within the next three months plan to make a switch to a fixed rate plan or your rate could continue to go up.

You have a fixed rate energy plan that will expire soon. If the rate on your plan is better than the current average for natural gas, check your contract to see if you have the option to renew. Also look to see what the requirements are for renewing. Provider Power customers can renew their energy plan within 30 days of expiration. If it’s unclear whether you can renew, be sure to call your energy supplier and ask directly. 

You have a long-term fixed rate energy plan. If you’re in this category there’s less to be concerned about because your rate isn’t going to change during the winter and might even remain the same into the summer. It’s still a good idea to keep an eye on how the natural gas prices are trending so you are prepared to renew in time if that seems like the better option. 

Need help deciding what type of energy plan will be the most affordable in the coming months? Want to know more about the rising natural gas prices and how it might affect your energy plan? Provider Power customers can contact the customer care team by phone for direct assistance. They’re available Monday to Friday to answer all of your questions!

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