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Energy bills rising across Northeast Ohio ahead of summer heat: How you can save money

FirstEnergy says it intends to increase prices by 3% beginning June 1. For the average customer, it's more than $3 each month.

NORTH ROYALTON, Ohio — Energy prices are rising across the board. The increased cost of natural gas also means you’ll be paying more for electricity starting next month.

FirstEnergy says it intends to increase prices by 3% beginning June 1. For the average customer, it's more than $3 each month, but there are things you can do to offset the cost. 

"Before the first hot spell, they want to get the air conditioner cleaned and checked, inspected and make sure the freon levels are there and clean," advises Salvatore Sidoti, owner of Sal’s Heating and Cooling in North Royalton.

Proper maintenance is one key to unlock savings. You want to have a technician check freon levels, voltages, and most importantly, change out dirty filters.

"Keeping the filters clean for sure is what you want to check. Especially after the unit has been running in heat mode for the last 9 months or so," Sidoti adds.

But maintenance might not be enough. You also want to set the thermostat a little warmer. Every degree warmer uses 3% less energy. And don't turn the unit completely off when you leave, as it uses more energy to cool things back down. 

"It’s going to take a long time to get back to that temperature," says Sidoti. "My recommendation is to leave the temperature at your desired setting."

And there's also savings to be found on your bill. Look for the "Price to Compare" to see how much you pay per kilowatt hour. Then go to EnergyChoice.Ohio.gov to see if you can find a supplier to save you money with an apples-to-apples comparison. Some may save a little, while others cut costs by more than $100 a year. 

With the prices of everything rising, it’s important to save money wherever you can, even if it doesn’t seem like much. Again, the increases begin next month, and will be locked in for at least the next year.

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