(WXYZ) — Brace yourself: this could be an expensive winter when it comes to your utility bills. Even if you don't heat with natural gas.
Jim Mehne, a homeowner in Metro Detroit, watches his thermostat settings carefully.
"Normally it's set at 62," he said.
But he just learned that what he pays for utilities every month is jumping from $128 to $160.
"31 dollars and 60 cents! Works out to about 360 bucks a year," Mehne said.
He says this will take a bite out of next year's budget.
"Right now with the way income is and everything else in the world, everything going up. It's going to make it harder to pay the other bills."
It's typical for gas and electric rates to go up in the winter because it's all based on weather and demand. But this year a strange thing has happened: natural gas prices have been going up all year long.
The U.S. Energy information administration says if you heat with gas, expect to spend 30% more this winter than last.
"We are just trying right now to customers to be prepared," Sally Thelen of Duke Energy said.
She says for every degree you turn down your thermostat, you'll save as much as 3% on your bill.
She also suggests checking those windows and doors for leaks.