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President Biden speaking on energy costs.

Heating costs to soar this winter

Families already dealing with record inflation likely will face soaring heating costs as well this winter.

The news comes as President Biden was criticized for saying energy companies can just lower prices to last year’s level. Economists and industry experts say the comments show the administration does not understand how engergy is produced and delivered, as well as the market forces that control its price.

The National Energy Assistance Directors Association projected that the average cost to heat a home would increase by 17.2 percent since last winter, rising from $1,025 to $1,202. A record.

Heating oil costs will jump an estimated 54 percent to $1,876, while natural gas costs may increase 24 percent to $709,. Overall, the total cost of home heating, including natural gas, electricity, heating oil and propane, is estimated to jump from $127.9 billion to $149.9 billion this year.

READ: Germans panic-buying electric space heaters

It’s going to put a squeeze on already tight family budgets, Nick Loris, C3 Solutions vice president of public policy, told Fox Business. “Whether it’s through electric, natural gas or oil, prices are up across the board,” Loris said. “And more money dedicated to paying for heat means fewer resources are essential for human well-being,” such as food or health care.

Consolidated Edison Inc., which provides energy for roughly 10 million people who live in New York City and Westchester County, already is issuing tips for how consumers can save well ahead of the winter season.

“Con Edison is urging customers to take actions now that can help them manage costs this winter as market prices for electricity and natural gas are expected to be substantially higher,” the company said in a recent notice.

The bill increases are driven mainly by increases in the market cost of natural gas, which is volatile and also influences electric market costs, according to the utility company. Con Ed said local electric and gas companies and customers all across the Northeast are facing similar circumstances.

Along with its warning notice, the utility issued a handful of tips, such as replacing conventional light bulbs with LED bulbs or having a qualified contractor clean and inspect heating systems, to help customers save amid the uncertain economic conditions. It also is allowing customers to use payment plans to help lessen the financial burden.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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