Dealing with high surging energy cost amidst winter

Igloo Living

As the first blasts of autumnal cold hit the Northeast, many residents will have to decide whether to pay the skyrocketing expenses of heating their homes, or go without.

Nationally, the cost of heating a home has increased by 18% this winter, on top of a 17% increase seen last year, as reported by the National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA).

To help low-income Philadelphians with their heating systems and expenses, Charmaine Johnson answers calls at the Heater Hotline, a non-profit organization. Johnson, 63, understands the worries her clients have all day. Even though she works two jobs, she still can't pay her heating costs.

Johnson, with the assistance of her son, has recently spent over $1,000 to fill up a portion of her oil tank.

Johnson claims she is ineligible for federal funding to help with her heating costs. In order to make her oil last as long as possible in the face of rising food and other costs brought on by inflation, she has taken to wearing more layers of clothing and turning down the thermostat.

It's horrible, she remarked. The comparison to an igloo is apt.

On the evening of November 14, 2019, a Heatable oil delivery driver in Falmouth drags a hose back to the side of his oil delivery vehicle.

When energy prices skyrocket, the Biden administration gives billions to help families afford to heat their homes.

High demand for natural gas in the United States electric power sector, as well as the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, OPEC+ cuts, a surge in energy exports, lower energy inventories, and the war in Ukraine are all contributing to recent increases in home heating costs, as reported by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

According to the EIA, the cost of heating a house using natural gas would increase by 25%, while the cost of heating with electricity will increase by 11%. About 5 million homes, mostly in the Northeast, would feel the pinch of the highest price increase, which is estimated to be 45% more than last winter.

Even though temperatures are dropping approaching freezing, Tim Wiseley is not turning on the heat at his house outside of Philadelphia. Due to the nearly $1,500 price tag associated with replenishing his tank, he is motivated to make his heating oil supply last as long as feasible.

About fifty to fifty-five degrees. Wiseley stated, "That's not uncomfortable to me now, but when my teeth start to rattle, I'll have to crank up the heat."

The 67-year-old has retired and is getting by from month to month on his Social Security checks. After the death of his wife last year, he has also incurred significant medical costs.

You can't obtain oil at a grocery store. Either/or is not an option," he said.

In Wiseley's estimation, he will eventually use up all of his heating oil this season. When that occurs, he isn't sure what he'll do.

It's a terrible sensation, he remarked. "I wouldn't want that on my worst enemy."

As a result of the Biden administration, households will get $4.5 billion in government aid this winter to help them pay their heating costs.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, receives its funding from three different sources: the annual appropriations process, the additional emergency funding included in the continuing resolution passed in September, and $100 million from the bipartisan infrastructure law passed in December.

On March 8, 2022 in Scituate, Massachusetts, Corey Carlson of Anderson Fuel delivers residential heating oil, the price of which has climbed to more than $5.00 per gallon.

It's expected that heating expenses would skyrocket this winter.

Annette Thomas, who is 53 years old and lives with her husband in Philadelphia, stated that the program had given them $500 to assist with heating costs. They were only able to fill about a third of their oil tank, so according to Thomas, they have around two to three weeks' worth of oil left.

This is why we're waiting, she said. Until now, we haven't activated our heating system. It's cold now, too.

They want to prevent a power outage by paying off their energy bill in the next several days. Their rent, utilities, and other costs have also skyrocketed. So they're making do with electric blankets and room heaters so they can save their heating oil for when the kids come home for Thanksgiving.

These aren't frills, Thomas emphasized; they're lifelines. Therefore, it is distressing. It is.”

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