Residential customers could see a 20 percent decrease in their natural gas bills this winter, as natural gas prices hit a seven-year low.
CenterPoint Energy estimates that the average monthly bill could drop from $137 last winter to $110 this season.
"What this can do for our customers this year is help them apply more money to maybe past-due balances, and actually stay on top of their winter heating bills this season," said Becca Virden, CenterPoint Energy spokesperson.
Virden said gas prices have already declined over the summer due to the recession, but the impact on customers' bills will become more evident during the winter months when natural gas usage is high.
CenterPoint Energy also recommends that customers check attics, doors, and windows for heat loss. The company offers energy audits to inspect homes for leaks and recommend improvements. A comprehensive energy audit costs $100.
Virden also recommended that customers with past-due natural gas bills contact CenterPoint to establish a payment plan before the winter months. If customers set up a plan, the company is required to provide natural gas under the "Cold Weather Rule." The rule goes into effect from October 15 to April 15.