An average 20% rate increase for natural gas approved by the state Board of Public Utilities last month has New Jersey customers searching for any possible way to lower their home heating costs this coming winter.

Both JCP&L and PSE&G are offering certain incentives for ratepayers, but Susanna Chiu, PSE&G senior director of operational services, said much can be done in the home on an everyday basis aside from those select programs.

"The easiest things are the things that customers can go into the store, buy, and put in themselves, and that includes things like LED lighting, power strips," Chiu said, adding that PSE&G offers rebates for the purchase of such products.

Beach Radio logo
Get our free mobile app

Chiu's favorite tip is to keep the home just a bit cooler: Lower the thermostat, even if only marginally.

A smart thermostat lets a resident "set it and forget it," allowing for adjustments if they are not home or are away on vacation, and PSE&G is offering a special, zero-cost deal on those devices right now.

"Your home heating is by far the largest user of energy in the home, and if you lower just 1 degree, you can reduce your heating bill by up to 3%," Chiu said.

In fact, PSE&G recommends lowering the thermostat by 2 degrees when people are home, and 5 to 10 degrees while away or asleep, if health conditions allow.

Other winter-specific tips suggested by Chiu include ensuring that windows and doors are properly sealed, which can prevent unnecessary air leakage.

PSE&G's Quick Home Energy check-up is a free, in-home program the utility provides so that customers can be aware of as many cost-saving moves as possible.

And for certain income-qualified customers, the company has programs that Chiu said can provide thousands of dollars' worth of free upgrades, such as the Home Weatherization inspection, also offered at no cost.

"We know that it's a challenging economy, and for those customers that are past due or need help paying their bills, there are various energy assistance programs," Chiu said. "For those who are not income-qualified who earn above the income threshold, there are also other programs that can help them."

Some other quick tips: using ceiling fans, removing or covering window air conditioners, moving furniture that may be covering vents, and closing fireplace dampers when they are not in use.

For more info, click here.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

How is it still standing? Look inside the oldest home for sale in NJ

New Jersey's oldest house is located on Gloucester County and dates back to the 1600's

10 years later — Sandy makes landfall in New Jersey

New Jersey's Most Terrifying Serial Killers

New Jersey Nightmares - Notorious Serial Killers

More From Beach Radio