Americans are going to have an expensive winter when it comes to paying their heating and electric bills.
The average household will pay about 17% more to heat their property this winter, hitting a 10-year high of about $1,200 per home, according to one prediction of the nonprofit National Energy Assistance Directors Association. Electricity bills will also rise, with U.S. residential electricity price expected to rise about 7.5% from 2021. according to to the US Energy Information Administration.
Those predictions follow a year of already high costs for homeowners and will likely be hit hardest by low- and middle-income consumers, Mark Wolfe, executive director of the National Energy Assistance Directors Association, told CBS News. Rising energy costs are linked to:that disrupted natural gas flows to Europe, and a hotter-than-normal summer in the U.S. that forced electric utilities to halt deliveries of natural gas, Wolfe noted.
“There is a lot of pain. This is the second year of high home heating prices,” he said. “Across the board, low- and middle-income families are suffering.”
Oil is still more expensive than last year
While the price of oil has fallen since hovering in the triple digits in June, the commodity remains more expensive than a year ago. For example, motorists have welcomed three months of falling prices at the pump but are still paying 15% more than a year earlier, according to AAA data.
“What we’re seeing is an increasing rate of home energy prices on top of high gas prices, which is causing more low- and middle-income families to make choices about how they pay for their expenses,” Wolfe said.
The highest inflation rate in 40 years has remained stubbornly high, despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to curb demand by raising interest rates. While headline inflation cooled slightly in July and August, core inflation — which excludes volatile food and fuel prices — is actuallylast month.
That’s causing some consumers to cut back on discretionary spending, like dining out, and nearly 4 in 10 consumers said they plan to spend less this holiday season than last year, according to a new one. questionnaire from Mass Mutual.
Homeowners who use heating oil to heat their homes will face the highest costs this winter, the forecast shows. The typical bill will rise nearly 13% to $2,115, Wolfe’s group projects.
Propane heating bills are expected to rise 15% to $1,828. Homeowners who use electricity to heat their properties will see a 7% increase to $1,328, and those who rely on natural gas will see their bills rise 34% to $952, the group estimates.
How to lower your bills
Wolfe recommends homeowners take some steps to lower their energy use, which could offset some of the pain of higher heating prices. The best advice: Tune your furnace now, when heating and cooling specialists aren’t so busy, he said.
“Think of any way you can turn your thermostat down,” such as lowering the temperature in your home at night to save on energy consumption, he said.
Wolfe also recommended sealing windows, doors and other places where cold air seeps into your home. Finally, check with your utility company to see if they offer a home energy audit that can tell you how to save on usage, he said.