DETROIT (WWJ) – There’s a chill in the air. Are you prepared for your heating bills to go up over the winter months?

Now that cold weather has arrived in Metro Detroit, Consumers Energy is making sure customers are ready to pay for higher heating bills. Company spokesman Brian Wheeler says this is the season when energy costs are the highest.

“We know that the cost of natural gas is historically low, but winter is the time of year that people use the most gas to heat their homes. Typically, about 60 percent or two-thirds of a person’s heating bill for the year is in those winter months,” said Wheeler . “So as it gets colder, people are going to be using more gas to heat their homes and so it’s important for us to get the word out that help is available if people need it.”

Wheeler says customers who are worried about being able to afford their heating bills should call 2-1-1 to get connected with non-profit organizations that can offer assistance.

“If you have any questions or concerns or you think you’re going to have problems with your heating bill, start by calling 2-1-1. It’s a referral agency that connects people with nonprofits and community agencies that can help,” he said. “So if you call 2-1-1, you can start to get an idea of what assistance is available.”

Wheeler says Consumers Energy can also make payment arrangements with customers who are struggling — by spreading a payment out over several months.

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