Heating bills are getting expensive for Americans as the winter storm hits

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The a ‘once in a generation’ winter storm. spanning the entire nation will force Americans to turn up the heat at a time when it’s getting more expensive.

Even before that historic winter storm Experts have warned that home heating costs will soar this winter to their highest level in more than a decade.

The average price of home heating is expected to increase 17.2% from last winter to $1,208, according to a November report from the National Association of Energy Assistance Directors.

Home heating costs are expected to be 35.7% higher this winter compared to the winter of 2020-2021, the report said.

More than 100 million people in the United States are under winter weather and wind chill warnings. The National Weather Service describes it as a “once-in-a-generation event.”

The spike comes as prices for natural gas — the most popular way to heat homes in America — have soared. Electricity prices have also risen sharply.

Homes that rely on natural gas for heating will spend an average of 25% more this winter, the US Energy Information Administration predicted last month. Those using oil for heating are projected to spend 45% more than last winter, while electricity will go up 11% and propane 1%.

But heating bills will only go up if the winter turns out to be colder than expected.

For example, the EIA warned that the average household that uses natural gas for heating will spend 37% more than last winter if temperatures are 10% lower than forecast. Heating oil bills will jump by 52%.

Consumers experienced sticker shock even before the start of winter. Utility gas prices have soared 15.5% year over year in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Electricity prices rose by 14%.

The financial pain is especially acute for those who can least afford changes in their spending.

“Home heating costs are becoming increasingly unaffordable for millions of lower-income families,” NEADA said in the November report.

As of August, about one in six U.S. families were behind on their utility bills, meaning roughly 20 million households, according to NEADA.

New England is particularly vulnerable to harsh winter weather, in large part due to restrictions on pipelines sending natural gas to the region.

Wholesale electricity prices in New England are expected to jump 35% in January from a year earlier, the EIA said.

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