Public and Private Organizations Discuss Heating Costs

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

November 14, 2005

The cost of gas for your car may be dropping, but we aren't seeing the trend with home heating bills.

Delegate-elect David Toscano and Delegate Rob Bell sponsored a meeting tonight that brought together private and public organizations to discuss this problem.

November 14th was the last day to enroll in the city's Heating Assistance Program--but there are still some things you can do. Albemarle County for example has a Crisis Assistance Program that helps repair and replace equipment. That deadline isn't until March, or when the money runs out.

Private companies also help customers who qualify. Tiger Fuel and Dominion Power representatives were at the meeting and both offer plans to assist low-income residents. But there is no telling how many people will need help or how much.

"Some of our projected heating fuel costs for the winter are likely to be fairly high. To give you some idea of what people are projecting right now: Natural gas is projected to rise about 50 percent in the upcoming heating season, heating oil about 32 percent, propane about 30 percent," said Delegate-elect David Toscano.

Even though we're having warm weather now, it's not going to last. The panel agreed that the best thing you can do is plan ahead before there's a problem.

One simple thing you can do to cut costs is seal the ducts in your house. This could save you as much as 20 percent on your bill.

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