With many consumers already struggling against rising costs due to inflation, the price of keeping their homes warm this winter could be about to skyrocket.
After dipping last year during the pandemic, the price of natural gas has increased 91% in the past year. And nearly half of the country’s homes use natural gas to heat their home. There’s no relief for people who use other methods, either. Heating oil prices are up 115%, and propane costs are up 148%.
And those prices aren’t expected to go down anytime soon, according to a newly released report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Renters and homeowners consume between 50% and 80% of residential fuel in the winter months. And, yes, October was a warm one around the country, but don’t expect that to continue.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s most recent winter forecast calls for temperatures for the winter of 2021–22 to be slightly colder than last winter’s for most of the country, and more similar to the average winter of the previous 10 years. Long-range forecasts from AccuWeather predict similarities between this year and last year’s brutal winter because of a weather phenomenon known as La Niña, with the Northeast, Great Lakes, and Northern Plains all in for a colder-than-normal winter.
In anticipation of the higher bills, the Biden administration has already released 90% of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program’s $3.75 billion in funds. In the year before the pandemic, that fund provided an average of $439 to more than 5 million families. Lobbyists are already pressuring Congress to increase that fund for the coming months.
This isn’t the first warning about heating costs in 2021–2022. Last month, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) warned homeowners that heating bills could be significantly higher this winter.
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