Atlanta Gas Light Urges Customers to Conserve and Weatherize Homes to Maximize Efficiency and Minimize Bills During the Upcoming Heating SeasonLaunches $1 Million Home and Heart Warming Project
October 12, 2005
ATLANTA – (Business Wire) – Oct. 12, 2005 – Atlanta Gas Light, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based AGL Resources (NYSE: ATG), urges its customers to follow a few easy and low-cost steps to save money on their 2005-2006 heating bills, which energy experts predict could be 56 percent higher in the South this winter.
“Atlanta Gas Light has ample supplies of natural gas for the upcoming winter heating season,” said Suzanne Sitherwood, president of AGL. “However, not being able to predict what mother nature will bring, we’re concerned about the impact of unprecedented energy prices on our 1.6 million customers throughout Georgia.”
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) today issued its winter forecast projecting higher increases for all energy sources used to heat homes. The increase is largely due to supply imbalances in the market in the aftermath of two major hurricanes – Katrina and Rita – that impacted the Gulf area where 25 percent of the nation’s natural gas supply originates.
According to the EIA, residential-per-household expenditures for fuels this winter compared to last winter, assuming a medium-speed recovery from Katrina and Rita will increase 48 percent nationwide for natural gas with a 56 percent increase in the South. The typical consumer nationwide will spend approximately $350 more to heat their homes this winter, according to EIA’s short-term energy outlook report.
“We are doing everything we can to manage costs and deliver reliable supplies, working with governmental agencies and energy assistance organizations to help those in need,” added Sitherwood. “We want our customers to do everything possible to maximize energy efficiency through conservation and weatherization to minimize their bills. We are encouraging them to take the necessary steps now to weatherize their homes before cooler temperatures arrive.”
Atlanta Gas Light recently launched the $1 million Home and Heart Warming Project – a joint effort with the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority and Resource Service Ministries to assist qualified Georgia families in repairing or replacing their non-functioning furnaces, water heaters, and when necessary for safety reasons cook top and stove units. For additional information about this and other local, state and federal assistance programs, Atlanta Gas Light is encouraging customers to contact United Way of Metro Atlanta by dialing 2-1-1 or by visiting www.211.org.
“Depending on the weather, this winter’s heating season may be especially difficult,” said Sitherwood. “The Home and Heart Warming Project is one way we can offer assistance. We’re also looking at other opportunities to direct corporate donations where they are most needed.
“A combination of conservation and weatherization in addition to using natural gas heating systems and appliances offers homeowners the highest total energy efficiency,” added Sitherwood. “Air from a natural gas furnace is up to 25 degrees warmer than air from an electric heat pump.
“Natural gas water heaters are less expensive than electric models to operate, and they heat water up to twice as fast: Homeowners can cut water heating costs by 50 percent by using natural gas,” Sitherwood said.
While the wholesale cost of natural gas has increased dramatically over the past few months as a result of Katrina and Rita, natural gas utilities make no profit from the wholesale gas they purchase to meet customer demand. The price per cubic foot is passed directly to the ratepayers with no markup. Utilities, such as Atlanta Gas Light, are only allowed to earn revenue through delivery charges, which generally make up 20 percent of customer bills and are based on rates filed and approved by regulators.
Atlanta Gas Light recommends these and other conservation and weatherization tips, available at www.atlantagaslight.com, to help customers minimize their energy bills:
- Have furnaces checked by a certified HVAC contractor to make sure they are working at optimum capacity. Now is a good time to have other fuel-burning appliances such as natural gas stoves and water heaters examined as well.
- Replace old, outdated appliances with high-efficiency natural gas models. When buying new appliances, compare energy efficiency ratings and annual operating costs.
- For safety’s sake, make sure smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors are working. Have an alarm and a detector on each floor of a home. Check the batteries regularly.
- Set thermostats at 65 degrees during the winter and at 58 degrees when away from the house for more than a few hours. Bear in mind that warmer temperatures are recommended for homes with ill or elderly persons or infants.
- Turn down thermostats automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat. This can cut heating bills by as much as 10 percent per year by turning thermostats back 10 to 15 percent for eight hours per day.
- Change the disposable filters in your furnace before turning it on for the winter. Change the filters once a month during the heating season. Use receipt of monthly energy bills as a reminder.
- Warm air rises, so use registers to direct warm airflow across floors.
- Close vents and doors in unused rooms and close dampers on unused fireplaces.
- Set the water heater temperature at 120 degrees. This will reduce water heating bills without sacrificing comfort.
- Install water-flow restrictors in showerheads and faucets to save on hot water. Take showers instead of baths. Showers use less hot water than baths.
- Run washing machines and clothes dryers with a full load. Wash clothes in cold or warm water instead of hot.
- Use the passive solar energy by opening drapes and blinds during the day. Close them at night to retain heat.
- Check to see if the attic and basement have the recommended levels of insulation. If the basement is unfinished, the floor above it should be insulated.
- Install storm or thermal windows and doors or double-paned glass.
- Insulate pipes so they won’t freeze.
- Add weather-stripping and caulking to windows and doors. As much as 30 to 40 percent of a house’s energy load is attributed to outside air penetrating the home.
- Add weather-stripping tapes that adhere directly to door and window frames for a tight seal. Add a door sweep for more insulation.
- Wear layers of clothing or insulated clothing indoors.
- Put extra blankets or down comforters on beds.
Atlanta Gas Light also encourages and works with customers to help them obtain assistance to pay their energy bills. These include non-profit organizations and state and local agencies which offer a variety of programs listed below to assist qualified individuals with their natural gas bills. Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
LIHEAP provides financial benefits to help eligible individuals with their home energy bills. Eligibility is based on household income and responsibility for paying for heating costs. Even if heat is included in the rent, customers may qualify. LIHEAP will take applications from Nov. 1, 2005 through March 31, 2006
. Note that customers who qualify for LIHEAP, must reapply each year. Call 404-657-3426 in Metro Atlanta or 1-800-869-1150. Qualified applicants should contact:
Other Sources of Aid
- Their local Community Action Agency, or
- DHR's Division of Family and Children Services:
404-657-3426 or 404-657-3427 in Metro Atlanta
1-800-869-1150 outside Metro Atlanta
United Way of Metro Atlanta
- Heating Energy Assistance Team (H.E.A.T.)
- Project SHARE (a Salvation Army program):
Call 404-873-3101 in metro Atlanta or 1-800-257-4273
- Vincent de Paul Society
The Society considers any bona fide request for assistance including help with utilities, medical bills, rent, food, transportation, tuition, burial plots and more. Most of this assistance is given on a one-time basis, however, clients are referred to programs to assist with more long-term changes. In 2003, Vincentians provided aid to more than 60,000 individuals and families in the north Georgia area. For assistance requests please call their direct aid line at (770) 458-9607.
Due to the volume of requests for assistance, the Society is unable to accommodate walk-in or e-mail requests.
- * Georgia Statewide-Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA)
Dial 211 or visit http://www.aglc.com/company_info/2005/www.211.org
. Senior Citizens Discount Program
Senior citizens who are 65 years of age or older and have a total annual combined household income of $12,000 or less are eligible for a $14 monthly discount on their AGL base charge. Natural gas service must also be in the customer's name to be eligible. If a customer qualifies, they must contact their natural gas marketer to apply.
Regulated Provider: SCANA Energy
Natural gas marketer SCANA Energy Regulated Division provides natural gas service to low-income households and consumers who have been unable to obtain or maintain natural gas service from another natural gas marketer. Low-income consumers can purchase natural gas at a special rate regulated by the Georgia Public Service Commission. About Atlanta Gas Light
Atlanta Gas Light, a wholly owned subsidiary of AGL Resources (NYSE: ATG), provides delivery service to more than 1.6 million customers in Georgia. In operation since 1856, the company is one of the oldest corporations in the state. For more information, visit www.atlantagaslight.com
. About AGL Resources
AGL Resources (NYSE: ATG), an Atlanta-based energy services holding company, serves 2.3 million customers in six states through its utility subsidiaries - Atlanta Gas Light, Elizabethtown Gas in New Jersey, Virginia Natural Gas, Florida City Gas, Chattanooga Gas, and Elkton Gas in Maryland. A Fortune 1000 company that ranks number 46 in the Fortune gas and electric utilities sector, AGL Resources reported 2004 revenue of $1.8 billion and net income of $153 million. The company also owns Houston-based Sequent Energy Management, an asset manager serving natural gas wholesale customers throughout the East and Midwest. As a 70 percent owner in the SouthStar partnership, AGL Resources markets natural gas to consumers in Georgia under the Georgia Natural Gas brand. AGL Networks, the company's telecommunications subsidiary, owns and operates fiber optic networks in Atlanta and Phoenix. The company also owns and operates Jefferson Island Storage & Hub, a high-deliverability natural gas storage facility near the Henry Hub in Louisiana. For more information, visit www.aglresources.com
CONTACT: AGL Resources, Atlanta Nick Gold, 404-584-3457 (cell) 404-275-9501 firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE: AGL Resources