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Here's how to keep costs low as electric bills expected to hit new high

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Posted at 12:53 PM, Jun 13, 2024

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A new report shows the average household will spend a record amount to cover electric bills this summer.

The report, from the National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA), as well as the Center for Energy Poverty, and Climate (CEPC), shows a continued climb in the cost of energy this summer, up 7.9% from last year.

The average family is expected to spend about $719 between June and September, up from $661 last year.

The projection is based off of energy usage and price data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), as well as NOAA temperature data.

The climb has continued over the last decade. In 2014, the reported summer electric cost was just $476.

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Energy bill assistance options

LIHEAP, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, is one of the most common utility assistance programs for people in need.

These application programs open up several times a year.

Utility programs also offer some utility payment reduction programs, based of applicants' income.

To access these options or to learn more, people should get in contact with their local Community Action agency.

"The best thing to do is to make an appointment at one of our local offices and/or reach out to your utility company. Our staff can let you know what programs and services you may qualify," said Troy Roberts, executive director of the Blue Grass Community Action Partnership.

Roberts added that the demand for these programs changes largely based on the weather each winter and summer.

"Just like in the winter when we have extreme lows, as the temperature rises over the next few weeks, we will see more people coming into our offices for assistance," Roberts said.

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Keeping costs down

LG&E and KU shared some tips to help customers reduce their energy cost this summer.

They suggest having a professional service your air conditioning unit to ensure it is running efficiently and to change your air filter as required.

They also recommend setting your thermostat to a higher temperature during the day to cut down on cooling costs.

Keeping vents open and unblocked will also keep air circulating efficiently, and keeping curtains or blinds shut will help keep the heat from the sun out.