The heat is on – or off

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    Those on a tight budget will not be feeling the heat this winter.Energy costs have been increasing for some time now, but the recent hurricane double shot could cause an additional 33 percent to 50 percent jump in fuel costs this winter.

    Price increases are related directly to demand. If everyone uses more heating fuel, the price skyrockets.

    While this winter is expected to be warmer than average, many people will not be able to afford another price hike.

    It is hard to think about possible heating bills while the weekend forecast is close to 90 degrees, but students should start thinking now of ways to reduce their bills this winter.

    Even if students at TCU can afford to keep their houses warmer, large numbers of people using more energy will make it harder for those who cannot.

    The best thing to do: Invest in blankets.

    Everyone, off campus or not, should try to conserve by heating their homes and dorm rooms only as needed, not in excess. Even if it is below freezing outside, turning the thermostat down a few degrees from 75 to 70 or 65 won’t cause hypothermia.

    Those living off campus could reduce their heating bill, leaving more money for the real essentials – weekend shenanigans.

    On-campus students have little incentive to keep their rooms at reasonable temperatures, as they do not pay the heating bill.

    Maximum and minimum temperature rules would seem a bit extreme, but perhaps the university could make conservation more interesting.

    Who knows, maybe a big thermometer in The Main showing how much each residence hall costs the university for energy could spark some competition.

    TCU may not have enough people to make a real dent in the demand for fuel, but every little bit helps.

    Before you turn up the heat this winter, remember to check your wallets and make sure you have the big bucks.

    Opinion Editor Brian Chatman for the Editorial Board.