While January temperatures are putting a relief on the check books a very cold December has some noticing a big difference in gas bills this year compared to last. A director at Columbia Gas of Virginia says the next possibility for a decrease in gas prices would be when they do their next adjustment at the end of February. December was a cold and icy month in the Valley, causing folks to increase the thermostats and their gas bills. "It's going to end up costing me about $1,425 to heat this place this winter, that's up about $700 from last winter," says Harrisonburg Resident, Bucky Berry. Bucky Berry's gas bill was a $150 more this December than it was last December. He's thankful he anticipated the increase before it was too late. "Lucky I was able to put money back in the summer because I knew gas was going to be higher this winter, with all the hurricanes and I knew there was going to be a price increase and I was able to put a thousand dollars away for natural gas for hard times," says Berry. Bob Innes of Columbia Gas says the company expected about a 40% increase on customer's total monthly bills this year compared to last year. "That's a direct result of the natural gas that we have to go out and purchase for our customers and by law pass along dollar for dollar," says Bob Innes, director, communications & community relations at Columbia Gas. So what can you do to manage energy costs. Innes suggests maintaining your heating equipment, installing caulking to windows and doors, turning the thermostat down when you're not at home, and signing up for the budget payment plan, which spreads energy costs over 12 months. "If you leave at 7:30 in the morning and go to work and you come back at five and during that period say you reduced it by three or four degrees, you are going to save some money," says Innes. Historically the coldest time of the year is from January 10th to February 10th. The projected average high for the weather in the next 14 days is in the lower 50s. So the good news to all of this; your wallet may be getting the break it needs.