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Good news: You can control bills

By Staff
Life looked great. The price of gas is dropping, it's finally getting cold, 2005 is coming to a close and then life took an ugly turn.
With the cold temperatures comes the rise of home fueling costs.
According to the Home Builders Association of Alabama, consumers can expect to pay 47 percent more for natural gas home-heat this year than they did last winter.
We can thank Hurricane Katrina for that one.
As if consumers couldn't get any better news, rising prices are expected for consumers of fuel oil, propane and electricity as well.
So the decision is to either get more blankets or open up the coin purse and dish out some more money so you don't arrive home to a popsicle puppy.
The Home Builders Association said this week that while natural gas usage leads American homes with 62 percent, electricity and heating oil also are consumed by American homeowners and can contribute to energy inefficiencies.
But, there's good news. Remember those nifty tips on how to save money when the cost of gas was sky high? Well, they're at it again and have more tips on ways to save on heating costs. They suggest to caulk and seal air leaks in your home, use energy wisely and upgrade to energy-efficient products. They're all no-brainers, but I think my favorite is use energy wisely.
However, while those tips seem elementary, let me remind you that the directions on the back of the Pop Tart box still reminds consumers to remove pastries from foil before placing in toaster oven.
It seems that there are still consumers out there that need reminders on how to use a product or in this case, reduce fuel cost.
It's simple, people. Set the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting, replace incandescent lights with compact flourescents, reduce air leaks and save that 10 percent on your monthly energy bill and use those energy-saving settings on refrigerators, dishwashers, washers and dryers.
Choose whichever direction you want – the simple, inexpensive change or the major home modification. So stop rolling your eyes and do something about reducing energy costs.
Mary-Allison Lancaster is the Managing editor of the Brewton Standard. She can be reached via e-mail at mlancaster@brewtonstandard.com.