Maintaining Energy Efficiency and Costs in Cold Weather
While the weather will continue to fluctuate for the next few weeks, cold weather will eventually settle in to stay.
Many individuals and families see their energy bills increase significantly during the winter months. The price to keep homes warm can be burdensome for seniors, low-income families and others on a fixed or tight budget. We believe no one should have to choose between heat and food or any other necessity.
Thankfully, there are some programs to help.
There are also ways to increase energy efficiency by doing some simple things around your single-family home or apartment.
Tips for Improving Energy Efficiency
- Lower your thermostat when you’re not home. If you leave your house for work or school every day, lowering your thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees while you’re away could save you 5% to 15% in energy savings a year, according to Energy.gov.
- Seal windows. If you own a home, seal all windows. If you rent and notice there are gaps where cold air can enter, contact your property manager and ask them to replace caulking and seal windows.
- Limit use of space heaters. While they may be tempting, space heaters can significantly raise your energy bill.
- Opt for cold water. While it may be too cold to take cold showers, there is no reason you can’t use cold water to wash clothes.
If the above tips aren’t enough, there are several programs throughout the city and county aimed at helping those who struggle with energy costs during the winter.
Albemarle County Fuel Assistance Program
According to Albermarle County’s website, the Fuel Assistance Program helps with home heating fuel and related charges. Benefits are determined and authorizations for deliveries or services are sent to vendors in December. Application
LEAP Weatherization Services
LEAP provides income and age qualifying weatherization programs for Dominion Energy customers. These programs provide money-saving services at no cost to qualified owners and renters, or landlords and property managers whose residents qualify.
Charlottesville Gas Assistance Program (GAP)
Charlottesville GAP is designed to help those individuals heating with natural gas who, although in financial need, do not qualify for State Fuel Assistance or whose State Assistance allotment has been exhausted.
Dominion Energy Assistance
Dominion Energy offers customers experiencing difficulty paying the electric bill several options. You may be eligible for payment arrangements or energy assistance funds. Energy assistance is not limited to low income customers, but anyone facing hardship.