With the official end to summer the Iowa Utilities Board is urging you to check your home’s ability to stand up to potential winter winds. Board spokesman Rob Hillesland says their call is based on the forecasts for natural gas prices — not the weather. He says there’s a good probability that natural gas prices will be higher this winter, as he says the Department of Energy says natural gas prices could go up 10 to 15 percent. Hillesland says prices could go even higher if things get cold — and demand goes up. He says the natural gas supply market is competitive and not regulated in Iowa. He says the regulation say only that local utilities have to pass through the price of gas without a mark up. Hillesland says your utility company can help you improve the coziness of your home. He says many local utilities offer a wide array of energy efficiency programs and many offer free energy assessments of homes and businesses. Hillesland says there are some things you can do on your own to keep your heating bills in check. He says you can adjust a thermostat down a few degrees, changing the furnace filters regularly, checking the seals on the doors and windows. He says a lot of these things don’t require you to spend any money. Hillesland says the Iowa Utilities Board has information on how to improve the energy efficiency of your home by visiting the Board’s webpage on the state of Iowa’s website at:www.state.ia.us.
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