Chicago (AP) - The Citizens Utility Board is urging Illinois consumers to conserve energy and take advantage of efficiency programs offered by utilities as winter approaches.
CUB spokesman Jim Chilsen says the organization is highlighting the benefits of energy efficiency after a recent federal report predicted that Midwest natural gas bills could jump by 13 percent this winter.
The group says Illinois residents could cut energy costs by almost $37 million a year with more energy-efficient furnaces, light bulbs and appliances, and through simple steps such as turning down the thermostat and closing doors in empty rooms.
Utilities also offer rebates to help defray the costs of some projects.
Chilsen says Illinois residents use 44 percent more energy than the national average on heating and cooling because of weather extremes.