November 10, 2021
Along with chillier weather, Minnesota homeowners should brace for a sharp increase in heating costs expected to hit pocketbooks this winter.
Last month, the federal Energy Information Administration predicted that U.S. households will spend 30 to 50 percent more money to heat their homes this winter, depending on the type of fuel and the severity of the winter weather.
“We are starting to see unusually high prices for heat,” said Annie Levenson-Falk, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board of Minnesota, which advocates for utility consumers. “Whether you’re using natural gas or propane or fuel oil, prices are up across the board, and roughly as high as they’ve been at any point over the last seven years.”
The higher bills are coming as many families are already struggling due to COVID-19, and the rising cost of food, housing and other expenses. And many natural gas customers are also paying a monthly surcharge stemming from a price spike after last February’s cold snap in the southern U.S.
Roughly 1 in 8 families were already behind on their utility bills before the latest surge, Levenson-Falk said.
“The fact that so many people are still struggling in this economy is going to make a real strain on many families,” she said.
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