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“Be Utility Wise” to help customers prepare for winter energy costs

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Dropping temperatures can mean more money out of your wallet.

So the Pennsylvania's Public Utility Commission is helping customers prepare for this winter season. "We're gearing up for winter and the rates are going to be higher and the temperature is going to be colder so this is a great opportunity for everyone to learn a little bit more about programs available to them and just some things they can do around the house to keep themselves warm," said Denise McCracken, Deputy Press Secretary with Pennsylvania's Public Utility Commission.

The commission held its annual "Be Utility Wise" program in Dauphin County Friday morning. Industry workers were educated about low-income programs that are available to customers. The event trains representatives in order to advise customers of energy cost saving methods.

Here are some ways to conserve around your house or apartment: First, air seal your house. "Little cracks in the house could be the equivalent of having your window open three inches in the dead of winter," said Angela Tracy with PPL Electric Utilities.

Tracy suggests going to hardware stores and getting caulk to seal those cracks -- and with shorter daylight hours -- don't forget lighting. "Buy LEDs when you can, replace your CFLs and definitely replace your incandescent lights with the new LED lights," added Tracy.

You can also save on your water bill. First, check for leaking toilets. "Check for that by using either a little coffee to tint the water, dye tablets or very light food coloring," said Patricia Lovelace with Conservation Consultants Incorporated, a Pittsburgh-based consultant company that works directly with Pennsylvania American Water and customers.

The winter season is also when there's an increase in problems in people's water pipes. "Open cupboard doors, the farthest point from your water meter, so that warm air goes also to have a little trickle of water from those pipes so that they don't freeze," Lovelace said.

For more information visit Pennsylvania's Public Utility Commission website at http://www.puc.pa.gov/