LONG BEACH - People who rent out an apartment in their home are supposed to pay a higher commercial energy rate, but a new proposal that is currently before the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) would change that.

LIPA is looking into a plan to charge homeowners with apartments in their house the lower residential rate, which could translate into significant savings.

Ester Mastey owns a two-family home on West Olive Street in Long Beach. The upstairs apartment has been rented in the past, but it's empty now. Still, LIPA has been charging Mastey a commercial rate.

The proposal that LIPA is currently considering could help clear up some of the confusion faced by homeowners such as Mastey.

"Individual homeowners who have accessory apartments or separate living spaces within their homes would qualify for the lower residential rates rather than be treated as a commercial customer," LIPA said in a statement.

The LIPA board will consider the proposal at its March meeting.