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Your heating bill could be 50% higher this winter

October 14, 2021, 8:00 PM UTC

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) is warning homeowners that heating bills for houses that use natural gas could be significantly higher this winter—perhaps by as much as 50%.

That’s the worst-case scenario, assuming the winter is 10% colder than average this year. But after last year’s brutal temperatures in Texas and massive snowfalls in Colorado, it’s hardly a long shot. Long-range forecasts from AccuWeather predict similarities between this winter and last year because of the weather phenomenon known as La Niña, with the Northeast, Great Lakes, and Northern Plains all in for a colder-than-normal winter.

While a 50% jump is possible in some areas, even those in more temperate zones will see increases. The EIA says nearly half of U.S. households that heat primarily with natural gas will spend 30% more than they spent last winter on average.

Nearly half of U.S. homes use natural gas to heat their home. NEI predicts the average bill will be $746.

Houses that rely on electricity for their heat will see smaller increases of 6% if it’s a normal winter—and 15% if it’s colder than usual. (The NEI forecasts an average electric bill of $1,268 this winter in those homes.) Propane-heated homes can expect a significant jump of 54%, with a 94% increase if they live in an especially cold zone this year. And heating oil homes can look for increases of 43% to 59%.

“Based on NOAA’s most recent winter forecast, we assume temperatures for the winter of 2021–22 will be slightly colder than last winter’s for most of the country and more similar to the average winter of the previous 10 years,” the organization said in a statement. “Cold weather can affect household heating expenditures in two ways. First, it raises the amount of energy required to keep a house at a specific temperature. Second, because it raises demand and could cause supply disruptions, cold weather can cause energy prices to rise, a development that can be more acute in a time of low fuel inventories.”

The expected price increases come as many households are still struggling financially after the pandemic.

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