Our opinion: No slowing home-heating costs

With the exception of those hardy families who stubbornly hold out as long as possible before turning on the heat for the season, many of us have probably flipped the switch by now. Nights in the lower 40s will do that.

If recent reports are accurate, keeping that heat on is going to be more expensive this year.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency’s Winter Fuels Outlook, an increase in average heating prices is forecast this winter for all parts of the country, and all heating fuels.

Compared with last winter, EIA forecasts U.S. households will spend 54% more for propane, 43% more for heating oil, 30% more for natural gas, and 6% more for electric heating. Of course, if this winter fulfills expectations and is also colder than last year’s, costs will escalate even more.

“We’re getting ready to go into the winter months, and it’s predicted by independent analysis that the cost of home heating will jump 54% this year,” said U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. “When I think about my fellow West Virginians, many of whom are on fixed incomes, they are going to have to make choices about how warm they can stay, if they can go out, if they can go to a restaurant or if they can buy enough food in their own home. They are going to have to make these choices because of the rise (in costs). People have problems paying their bills in those cold winter months anyway.”

The same can be said for many families here in Pennsylvania and across the areas of the country that must heat their homes in the winter months.

Among the reasons for the increase, according to Capito, are rising inflation and the Biden administration’s energy policies. Certainly Biden’s effort to restrict the energy industry in the U.S. while asking foreign producers to increase output is puzzling — and concerning.

The rising energy prices may mean more households need to seek out utility assistance resources. It also makes it even more important to check up on neighbors who might be trying to get by using less heating fuel than usual.

We know the higher costs are coming, folks. While policy makers sort out how to address them, those of us living in the real world must prepare.


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