Gas, oil and other fuel prices have taken big drops in the past few weeks, but a spokesman for the Iowa Utilities Board says that’s not a reason to give up on conservation. Rob Hillesland says you should still take any steps you can to winterize your home.

Hillesland says the Utilities Board is cautioning Iowans not to lessen efforts to reduce energy usage this winter just because gas and natural gas prices have gone down. He says some experts are saying that even with the same usage as last year, heating costs could be up 20 percent. Hillesland says you never know in Iowa how much you’ll have to spend on heating.

He says weather is always the big unknown factor and you should take any steps to be as energy efficient as possible. Hillesland says there are some simple things you can do to save energy. Hillesland one of the fastest things you can do to save energy and money is to turn down your thermostat. He says every degree you turn down the thermostat, you can save three-pecent on your energy bill. And getting a programmable thermostat helps you automatically turn down the temperature when you’re not there.

Hillesland says there are many other ways to save energy. Hillesland says you can contact your local utility for information on energy efficiency measures and rebates, as programs vary widely from utility to utility. Hillesland says a few simple steps can add up to bigger savings over the entire winter heating season.