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Experts advise Arkansans to prepare for higher electric costs this winter

An association that tracks assistance programs predicted that home heating costs will reach the highest level this year in over 10 years— here's how you can prepare.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. —

Even though it doesn't feel like autumn yet, it's not too soon to prepare for higher electric bills. 

An association that tracks assistance programs predicted that home heating costs will reach the highest level this year in more than 10 years. 

"We always hope for the best but prepare for the worst. And that's a thing that I always recommend for consumers," said Rob Roedel with Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. 

Roedel said that he can't pinpoint exactly how much more you'll spend to heat your home this winter, but the cost of natural gas is much higher than it normally is— and that has a lot to do with rising electric bills.  

"The price of natural gas is close to, you know, 50% to 100% higher than it normally is," he said. 

It all comes down to supply and demand— and according to Entergy Arkansas, there's a big need for natural gas.

However, there isn't as much available after Russia's invasion of Ukraine reduced supplies.  

"As the demand for that commodity goes up, so does the price. And so that's the main factor in this situation," Roedel explained. 

He also added that the colder the winter, the higher the bills will be.  

"Most of the units are designed to change the temperature from outside to inside, roughly 20 degrees, maybe 25 degrees. And so, if it's a very cold day, like we had back in February of 2021, so there's tons of snow and it's very bitterly cold, your unit is going to run more," he said. 

Brandi Hinkle with Entergy said that there are some things you can do now to save money when it's colder.  

"We encourage customers year-round to think about being more energy efficient, and weatherizing their home," Hinkle said. 

Hinkle said that the best thing you can do is put weather stripping on windows and doors to stop air from flowing in and out.  

If you struggle to pay your bills at any time during the year, she said that there are resources available to help.  

"You can also register for level billings. With that you have pretty much kind of an average that you pay monthly so that you don't have those really super high bills in the summer from electric usage," she added. 

Hinkle said that another tip for saving energy and money includes keeping your thermostat set on warm temperatures in the summer and cool temperatures in the winter, to keep it from overworking itself. 

Additionally, changing to LED lightbulbs can help save you energy too. 

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