Weather plays the biggest role in the amount of energy customers use and how it impacts their power bill. Customers typically see their highest bills after the hottest and coldest months.

With temperatures in Northwest Florida expected to drop into the 30s and even the 20s in some areas tonight, there are steps customers can take to help save money on their Gulf Power energy bill and stay warm during the coldest spells.

“There are many ways to conserve energy, stay warm and reduce the jumps in your energy bills,” said Kimberly Blair, Gulf Power spokesperson. “Budget Billing is one service customers can participate in to eliminate drastic spikes during extreme weather events. Customers who sign up for Budget Billing, pay about the same amount each month.”

Check out these cold weather tips from Gulf Power’s energy experts:

  1. Set your thermostat at a constant temperature. Almost half of the energy in your home goes to heating and cooling. In the winter, set it at 68 degrees and leave it. For every degree above 68 that you set your thermostat, you’ll pay 10 percent more in heating costs.
  2. Find and seal leaks so cold air can’t sneak in through doors, walls or a poorly insulated attic.
  3. Reverse the setting on your ceiling fan to push warmer air down to the floor level.
  4. Use an electric blanket or heated mattress cover. These are more economical than heating the entire house. To prevent a fire hazard, avoid using ones that are older than 10 years. Don’t run cords under your mattress. More safety tips.
  5. Use the sun to heat your home by opening draperies and blinds on the sunny side of your house. Close them on the shaded side of your house and at night.
  6. Get a free Energy Checkup, one of the easiest ways you can identify measures to conserve energy. You can access a free online checkup from anywhere at any time on a laptop, tablet or mobile device, or you can schedule an in-home energy checkup. The checkup provides a report that’s personalized for you, based on your home’s actual energy use and can be accessed whenever you want to look for ways to save money and energy.
  7. Use portable electric heaters only in small areas. Buy newer models that are thermostatically controlled and carry the UL label.

There are many other things you can do to keep your home more comfortable in the winter. Check out more energy-savings tips here.

Struggling to pay higher bills?

For those who may struggle to pay their bill, the Salvation Army has a program called Project SHARE. Project SHARE provides emergency assistance to our neighbors who need help with energy bills, repairs to heating and air-conditioning equipment and other energy-related needs. The program assists the elderly, the disabled, the sick and others who are experiencing financial hardship. Gulf Power customers can make donations to Project SHARE by adding a donation to their power bill.

Here is a full list of where to get help paying your power bill:

Eastern District

Chipley

  • Love in Action, (850) 638-2706
  • Jackson County Senior Citizen, (850)263-4650
  • Salvation Army, (850)638-7102

Panama City

  • Catholic Charities, (850) 763-0475
  • Council On Aging, (850) 769-3468
  • United Way, (850) 785-7521 or 215-6611
  • Family Services, (850) 785-1721
  • Salvation Army, (850) 769-5259
  • Tri County, 942 Jenks Ave., (850) 215-0173
  • Beach Care Services — Panama City Beach Residents only, (850) 235-3002

Central District

DeFuniak Springs

  • Caring & Sharing, (850) 892-7656
  • Tri County Council Assistance, (850) 892-3615

Fort Walton Beach

  • Striving for Perfection Ministries, 312 Pelham Rd. Open Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (850) 862-3899
  • United Way, 112 Tupelo Ave., (850) 243-0315
  • Salvation Army, 425 Mary Esther-cutoff, (850) 243-4531
  • Catholic Social Services, 11 1st St. (850) 244-2825

Crestview

  • Sharing & Caring, (850) 682-1134
  • Salvation Army, (850) 243-4531
  • Tri-County, (850) 306-1134

Niceville

  • Okaloosa County Council on Aging, (850) 833-9165
  • Salvation Army, (850) 243-4531
  • Catholic Social Services, (850) 244-2825
  • Sharing & Caring, (850) 678-8459

Western District

Pensacola

  • United Way referral line, call 2-1-1 from any phone.
  • United Ministries (only provides assistance to families w/children) 257 E Lee St., Pensacola, (850) 433-2333
  • Catholic Social Services, 222 E Government St., Pensacola, (850) 436-6425
  • Community Action Program (Tuesdays 8:15-9:15 am), 1308 W Garden St., Pensacola, (850) 607-2088
  • Salvation Army, 1501 North Q St., Pensacola, (850) 432-1501
  • First Baptist Church, (850) 438-8907
  • Olive Baptist Church, (850) 473-4466

Milton

  • Interfaith Ministries — Santa Rosa County residents, Gulf Breeze, Navarre, Milton, (850) 934-8385
  • We Care Ministries (United Methodist Church — Santa Rosa County residents, Navarre) (850) 939-1005
  • Family Resource Center, (850) 626-2054
  • Salvation Army, Santa Rosa County, (850) 623-4099
  • Tri County Community Council, 6607 Elva St., (850) 981-0036