I thought you paid too much to heat your home last year? Wait until this winter – Yalla Match

“The prices of everything have gone up so much that part-time work may not be enough to supplement the billing increases we budgeted for,” said Bell, 41, whose husband is a certified nursing assistant while studying nursing. Grade.

Like Bill, many Americans are bracing for the cold reality that they will have to shell out more to keep their homes warm this winter.

Those using natural gas faced the biggest increase, the association said, with winter heating season costs expected to rise 34.3% to $952.

The heating oil tab is expected to rise 12.8% to $2,115. Those whose heat is powered by electricity can expect an increase of about 7% to $1,328.

Some may not realize that heating their homes will be more expensive this winter, especially since gasoline prices have been falling for months.

“In many people’s minds, gasoline and household energy are the same,” said Mark Wolf, executive director of the association. “The surprise here is that heating fuel prices will rise.”

Energy price increase

Energy prices are rising in part because of the recurring heat waves that swept across much of the United States this summer. That forced utilities to draw on their natural gas reserves, which are also used to generate electricity, exacerbating pressure on inventory levels that were already below historical averages.

Oil prices, which rose last winter after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, are falling but are still higher than last year.

Dan Pfolzer paid his landlord $150 a month to cover the cost of oil on the small house he rented in Nassau, New York. But during the summer, knowing that oil prices had soared, Pfoltzer raised the amount to $310 a month so he wouldn’t be overbilled during the winter.

“By the time that tank runs out, the money will be available for the next tank,” said Pfoltzer, 71, who lives alone and drives a school bus.

However, the increased costs mean he won’t be able to pay all his other bills, including those from cancer treatment a few years ago. To keep oil consumption as low as possible, he plans to lower the thermostat a few degrees to 67 and raise it when it’s cold.

On the coast of Maine, Dale Christensen, Sr. plans and his family already to use electric blankets in their living room and bedrooms this winter in an effort to reduce their heating bills. The 53-year-old also wants to buy fireplaces.

Christensen, a country courier, has already repaid the landlord the $900 it cost him to fill the oil tank when they moved into their rental home earlier this year. He expects to receive a $1,300 bill later this fall to refill at the start of winter and likely get two more after that during the season.

The heat was not a problem for the Christensens family last winter as they lived in an attached apartment, although the couple had to keep their elderly parents, who are on a fixed income, warm in their homes stay.

“Every year we worry about our parents because of heating costs,” he said. “This year there is more stress and tension, because of course now we have to pay for our heat.”

The family applied for help from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, known as LIHEAP, to absorb part of the cost of the oil bill. But Christensen isn’t counting on it until he hears if it’s approved.

Less federal aid available

To make matters worse, there is much less money in LIHEAP’s coffers this year, even though nearly 20 million American families – or 1 in 6 families – are behind on utility bills.

The American Bailout Act, passed by Congress in March 2021, provided a $4.5 billion payment to the program for this fiscal year, in addition to the $3.8 billion in regular appropriations. The stimulus money was mainly used to reduce the sudden increase in arrears due to the pandemic.

Both the House and Senate are looking at allocating $4 billion to LIHEAP for fiscal year 2023, although lawmakers have yet to pass a bill to fund the federal government for next year. The Biden administration has requested an additional $500 million for LIHEAP on top of what lawmakers are considering, while the Association of Energy Directors has requested an additional $5 billion.

State energy managers say requests for help are pouring in even before the cold weather sets in.

This time last year, Energy Services Inc. In Wisconsin, she receives 300 calls a day to her customer service center. Now, the non-profit organization The group, the state’s chief LIHEAP official, fields more than 1,000 calls a day. A family of three with an income of about $52,000 year Eligible as long as funding is available.

Timothy Brewer, of Energy Services, said: The CEO, who noted that his group ran out of LIHEAP crisis assistance funds in fiscal 2022 for the first time in three decades. “Conserving heating and power, which is a basic necessity, has become an unaffordable luxury for tens of thousands of Wisconsin’s most vulnerable and at-risk families.”

Mary Nettle, director of energy resources for the nonprofit, said the Community Action Council in Worcester, Mass., usually doesn’t start taking LIHEAP applications until the temperature starts to drop. Collection. but This year, they’ve come “fast and furious,” she said, noting that first orders for the upcoming winter are up 60% compared to this time last year.

Residents brace for higher fees. One of the state’s energy providers emailed its customers that electricity bills would increase by an estimated $114 a month for average use compared to last winter — a 64% increase, she said. She cited the high prices of electricity supply as the main reason.

Even those who do not heat with electricity will be affected because electricity is required to operate home heating systems.

Martin Silva, Sr., expects to pay about 30% more to heat his home this winter.

At the same time, Knittle will have significantly less money to hand out this winter, although the allocation has not yet been determined. Last fiscal year, her agency received $24.6 million in LIHEAP funding, including a $13.9 million boost from the since-depleted U.S. bailout.

“The concern is very high,” Nettle said, noting that a family of three earning nearly $68,500 is eligible for assistance in Massachusetts.

Martin Silva, Sr. is already hundreds of dollars behind on utility bills for the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania home he shares with his wife. He expects natural gas to cost about $130 a month to heat their sleek old house, up from about $100 last year.

Silva, a truck driver, hopes to pay off his debt by cutting more expenses, including trips to see his ailing elderly parents twice a month in New York. But the increased expenses left him feeling “crushed”.

“You can’t move on, no matter how hard you try,” Silva (51) said.

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