Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel

consumer alert

January 28, 2014

Contact: Marty Berkowitz, 614-387-2962


Consumers encouraged to conserve energy during cold snap

COLUMBUS, OH – Jan. 28, 2014 – The Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC) joins with others in encouraging consumers to conserve energy usage as best they can during this unusually cold weather. Conserving energy can help consumers limit the charges on their winter utility bills and can help maintain the availability of natural gas supplies for all customers. Presently, natural gas supplies are considered sufficient to meet consumers’ needs.

For the second time this winter, Ohioans have been confronted with abnormally cold weather as temperatures have hovered at zero degrees or below for several days at a time. This has resulted in many furnaces (most of which heat with natural gas) running for longer durations to heat homes. There has also been an increase in electricity demand during this period.

There are some simple measures consumers can follow to help conserve energy and lower energy bills at a time when winter bills are expected to be unusually high:

  • Set thermostats as low as possible without sacrificing comfort;

  • During times when you are not at home, lower your thermostat by about five degrees;

  • If possible, invest in a programmable thermostat that will allow you to manage home temperatures even when you are not at home;

  • Set the heating temperature of your hot water heater to between 115 and 120 degrees;

  • Wrap the hot water heater with an insulation blanket and use electric heat tape or foam rubber insulation on water;

  • You may also consider leaving your bathroom or kitchen faucet dripping slightly;

  • Seal gaps underneath your doors and on your window with weather-stripping or caulking tape;

  • Use electric and natural gas appliances during off-peak hours to the extent possible; and

  • Seal off rooms that you are not using.

The cold weather and higher than normal energy usage may result in higher energy bills for customers who have not previously had difficulty paying their energy bills.

There are a number of additional resources available to help residential consumers concerned about being able to stay connected to their utilities.

On OCC’s website,, there is information about federal, state and utility-funded assistance programs available to assist consumers with their energy bills. These include:



About the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel
The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC), the residential utility consumer advocate, represents the interests of 4.5 million households in proceedings before state and federal regulators and in the courts. The state agency also educates consumers about electric, natural gas, telephone and water issues. For more information, please visit the OCC website at

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