Energy price forecasts from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and
weather forecasts bring a mixture of good and bad news for consumers across the
Most homeowners that use natural gas should get some relief on their heating bills this winter. According to EIA the price of natural gas is relatively low for the second year in a row. For people heating with natural gas – about 52 percent of all households nationally – the cost of staying warm is expected to go up by only $27.
Also, forecasters predict a warmer winter across much of the country - especially in the Southeast, which suffered through a historically cold winter last year.
But homeowners in the Northeast who heat with oil or natural gas can expect double-digit price increases. The latest government forecast predicts a 13.3 percent rise in energy costs for homeowners in the region who heat with oil, and an 11.6 percent increase for those who use natural gas. Electricity prices are expected to rise 4.7 percent.
Consumers in the Northeast could be hit particularly hard as higher fuel costs combine with a colder winter. According to a forecast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, winter in the Northeast is expected to be 5 percent more frigid than last year.
Requests for energy assistance remain high despite mild fall weather and energy prices, say heating assistance officials.
“Even though the forecasters might be calling for a not-so-chilly winter, our volume hasn’t slowed down,” said Janet Joseph, executive director of Heating Energy Assistance Team, a non-profit organization that directs private contributions to needy families in Georgia. “In fact, it’s increased. We’re seeing people who may not have asked for help before.”
More information about energy forecasts can be found at EIA's website.
Source: EIA, newspapers