Chesterton Tribune



OUCC offers energy efficiency tips to consumers for the winter

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With winter approaching and consumers across Indiana turning their furnaces on, it’s a good time to consider how your home or business can be more energy efficient.

“Our website offers a host of useful tips that will help you prepare for winter,” said Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor David Stippler. “These tips can add up to either save you money or at least keep your bills in check.”

Advice from the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) includes the following tips:

* Get a home energy assessment. Many Hoosiers qualify for assessments at no cost from Energizing Indiana, a unified effort of the OUCC, other consumer organizations and participating utilities. To sign up, visit or call (888) 446-7750 toll-free. In addition, many utility websites offer online energy audits at no charge.

* Sign up for budget billing. Most Indiana natural gas and electric utilities offer budget billing programs, which offer set, monthly payments and make it easier to plan ahead for the coldest months.

* Make sure your furnace filter is clean. It’s also important, for efficiency and safety reasons, to have your HVAC unit serviced regularly by a professional.

* Check your insulation. Having the proper amount can make a major difference on winter heating bills. Tax incentives are available in many cases.

* Set ceiling fans to turn clockwise at a low speed. (They should turn counter-clockwise in summer.)

* Use a programmable thermostat and turn the temperature down by a few degrees when you go to work or to bed.

* Switch to energy efficient light bulbs. Energizing Indiana offers discounts through a number of retailers.

* Unplug cell phone chargers and other small appliances when they’re not being used. Anything that’s plugged in is using energy to some degree.

* Know and follow the OUCC’s additional recommendations. These recommendations are available at or by calling (888) 441-2494 toll-free.

* Know about and take advantage of the energy efficiency programs your utility offers. While programs vary among utilities, they may include refrigerator/freezer recycling/rebate programs, free kits with energy efficient light bulbs, rebates on energy efficient appliances, and more.

In addition to energy efficiency tips, the OUCC website includes free guides to understanding electric rates and natural gas costs and other helpful consumer publications. All consumers are encouraged to take advantage of these helpful tools.

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) represents Indiana consumer interests before state and federal bodies that regulate utilities. As a state agency, the OUCC’s mission is to represent all Indiana consumers to ensure quality, reliable utility services at the most reasonable prices possible through dedicated advocacy, consumer education, and creative problem solving.

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Posted 10/25/2013