Keeping utility bills in check during cold winter months

John and Barbara Milligan of Syracuse get energy audit from Isaac Heating and Air Conditioning representative.

For Barbara and John Milligan of Syracuse, paying for heat causes constant headaches.

"Anxious. I think everyone has noticed and our bills have been higher," says Milligan.

The Milligans share that pain with the rest of Central New York, as utility bills skyrocket during a colder-than-normal winter season.

Steve Brady, spokesman for National Grid says there are two explanations. One is the obvious explanation, that people use more electricity and natural gas in the dead of winter.

"The compounding factor is on the supply side. The actual energy itself whether it be natural gas or electricity, the cost of those is up in many cases fairly dramatically over previous winters," says Brady.

To deal with increased usage and rising costs, the Milligans turned to Anthony Romantini with Isaac Heating and Air Conditioning.

"I would say probably 95 percent of the homes I go into they have the potential to save at least a couple hundred dollars. Even if it's not much it's still something to put back in your pocket," says Romantini.

With a thermal imaging camera, he quickly found where the cold air is and determine which areas can be sealed to keep it out.

A simple way to keep the warm air inside your home is to take a look at your outlets. You can get an insulation pad to put behind the outlet and then a child safety plug to put in each one. That will keep the hot air from going out and the cold air from coming in.

National Grid is doing its part too. In an unprecedented move, the utility company is freezing its electricity price at January's level and spreading out price increases this month throughout the year.

For now, homeowners like the Milligans are doing what they can to stay warm without burning a hole in their pockets.

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