For immediate release: October 16, 2000
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 654-4989



Protect Yourself from Higher Energy Costs this Winter

Count on it - this winter, energy prices are going up. Pacific Gas & Electric has already announced that natural gas bills for homeowners soon could increase by as much as 50 percent because of the escalating wholesale cost of natural gas. As a result, the utility says the January gas bill for an average Northern California home may jump from $50 to $75 a month.

Because of the higher cost of petroleum, prices are also going up for propane and fuel oil as well. And while electricity rates are still frozen by State law for most Californians, San Diego residents have already experienced a jump in their electricity rates.

So, despite forecasts of a normal winter, heating costs in most of the state will consume an increasingly larger portion of a household's energy budget. That's why it's more important than ever to check your home now to insure that your heating dollars aren't being wasted.

As winter approaches, use this checklist of simple ways to make your home more comfortable and keep those escalating energy bills at bay.

Check for leaks

Weatherstripping and caulking is probably the least expensive, simplest, most effective way to cut down on energy waste in the winter. Improperly sealed homes can waste 10 to 15 percent of the homeowner's heating dollars. Take these steps:

Check your insulation

How much insulation should you install? Typical framed homes now being built in California's Central Valley must meet insulation requirements of R-38 insulation in ceilings, and R-19 for walls and floors.

Check your heating system

A cooling draft is a poor idea when it's cold, however. By reversing the fan's direction, the blades move air upward in winter. This is especially valuable in high ceiling rooms, where heat that naturally rises is forced back down into the room.

And, while you're at the store . . .

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Note to Editors: This news release can be downloaded from the Energy Commission's Web Site at

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