CARLISLE, Pa. — The U.S Energy Information Administration predicts that, compared to last winter, heating oil prices will rise by 43%, natural gas by 30%, and electricity by 6%.
FOX43 Finds Out Pennsylvanians do have the option to shop around for the best price when it comes to natural gas and electricity.
Here's how to shop to save:
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission hosts two websites PaPowerSwitch.com for electric and PaGasSwitch.com for natural gas. You can shop for the best deal on the price to compare or the "generation" part of your bill, which is usually the most expensive.
Bob Povick of Carlisle has shopped around for years. He said, "I've probably cut my heating and electric bills by 30-35%."
If you want to shop make sure you have your most recent bill nearby -- to see how many kilowatt-hours, or therms, you're using on average.
Then, just put in your zip code and you'll see how many offers there are where you live.
You'll see a few different options when it comes to rates:
Variable prices can change daily, monthly, or even another term that is defined in a contract.
Then there's a fixed price: that means the kilowatt-hour price you select will stay the same for the term of that contract. This doesn`t mean your bill will be the same for that long. It will still rise and fall based on how much energy you use each month.
The third option is unlimited. You'll be able to use as much energy as the contract allows and pay the same price, however, these terms tend to be shorter than fixed rates and they also may have a cancellation or additional fees.
Povick said for him, it's a smooth process.
"You have to weigh your options and you choose and it's actually very simple, very easy," he says.
For people who shop, just remember that you're typically entering some sort of contract with a supplier, so it's up to you to remember the terms. A good idea would be to set a calendar reminder yourself to shop again when your term ends, if not your rate could go sky high.
Povick said, "I looked at what's available to me and there are some pretty good options, you can pick fixed rates that will last 6-12 months that are very close to what I pay right now."
The PUC says it's still in the process of gathering information about potential energy price changes for winter. They plan to have better data for Pennsylvania prices in November.
Although some people, like Povick, want to start shopping now before the cold temps really hit.
"You could lock in before it goes up and you should be able to make out," he says.
We're also now in the application period for the low-income home energy assistance program. You can check here to see if you qualify for money to help heat your home this winter.