Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Warm Winter and Lower Prices Ease Heating Bills for Gas and Electric Customers, while Oil and Propane Users Suffer from Higher Prices

The recent warm spell and snow melt got us thinking about how the winter stacked up in comparison to normal heating seasons. NYSERDA' s Heating Fuels Report for March 29, 2010 reports indicate that this year New York had a warmer than normal season.

The warmer weather obviously helped in meeting the cost of home heating, particularly downstate. There have been 8% fewer heating degree days in the New York City area, and about 3% fewer in Albany and Buffalo.

The weather effects, coupled with lower commodity prices for those who heat with utility natural gas or electricity, undoubtedly helped consumers during the current recession, when many New York households have members who lost their jobs and have less income to make ends meet.

Households in the North Country, however, where many households are inadequately insulated and heat with fuel oil or propane, are still seeing prices 27% and 20% higher than last year, respectively. The higher prices they pay for these fuels offset any benefit of their slight reduction in heating degree days.

The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is still open for eligible households in need of energy assistance.

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