MONEY: DON'T GET STEAMED

Turning on the heat for the first time in the fall is no fun. It signifies the cold dark days to come, and there's that unpleasant smell of money burning. That's especially true this year: the Department of Energy just reported that heating-fuel supplies are down about 11 percent and prices could rise as much as 28 percent this winter. But those kindly utilities want to help. Most publish energy-saving tips, but the really generous ones offer cash to customers who are willing to conserve energy by installing efficient equipment, weather stripping and the like. There's a complete list of programs at the Web site of the electric-utilities trade group, the Edison Electric Institute, www.eei.org/wiseuse. Homeowners should also check with their local utility to see what savings programs they might qualify for. If your heating company limits its assistance to chatty bill stuffers, at least you can burn them for warmth.

MONEY: DON'T GET STEAMED | News