October 12, 2005
You might want to keep a blanket around for the next few months. Folks in the Commonwealth are now bracing for a rise in natural gas and fuel oil prices that could make it difficult for many of us to keep our heat on this winter.
Experts are predicting heating costs to be up by 50% this winter. The people affected most are those with low income, and seniors.
"The oil is around a thousand dollars a year," said Catherine Bushey. Well, expect it to be at least $300 more this winter. John Fitch from Fitch's Heating said it's going to be much more expensive.
"The EPA has just recently stated that people in our region and north of us can expect to experience over a 30 percent increase in home heating costs with oil and 46 percent increase with gas," said John Fitch.
With over half of the homes in the northeast using oil, it's going to be a struggle for most. Experts said they have never seen prices jump so high or increase so quickly.
"It looks like it's going to be a pretty big problem for some people this year," said Fitch.
This is true especially for some low income families and seniors. This year 20 percent more people are asking the government for help. According to the National Energy Assistance Association, 1 million more people have applied for the funding to help their families pay their fuel costs, not to mention repairs.
"I would think that we will be getting a lot [of calls for repairs], a lot more than we would in past years," said Fitch.
If you're anything like Catherine Bushey you'll want to hope for a warm winter.
"You never know how cold it's going to be. It could be a mild winter, you never know. Let's hope," said Bushey.
There is some good news for those who heat their house with electricity. Those bills are expected to be only 5% more this winter. Experts say one reason why electric heating bills are going up slightly is because many power plants run on natural gas themselves.