Heating oil experiences double digit jump
TRI-COUNTY AREA—As New York faces snow storm after snow storm, the cost of home heating has increased by double-digits over last year.
New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA) reported that its heating oil prices increased the most over last year as of Feb. 21. The agency said for western New York counties the price is currently $3.56 per gallon. It was $2.82 last year, or a 26.2 percent change.
NYSERDA also said kerosene increased to $3.90 a gallon. Last year at this time it was $3.17, a 23 percent increase. Propane had the smallest increase. NYSERDA said it is currently $2.82 per gallon. It increased 7.8 percent over last year.
Even motor gasoline is on the rise. The agency said average price right now is $3.36 per gallon. Last year it was $2.82 per gallon, or 19 percent lower.
Roland Penta, Phelps Sungas president, said their propane price rose 10 percent. He said the current price is $2.79 per gallon. Penta added he knows some companies are as high as $4 per gallon.
“I’m shocked at some prices,” he said.
Penta said customers are struggling because prices are up. He said even if there wasn’t an increase it would still be tough. Penta explained the propane heating cost increase is caused by the lack of new propane gas infrastructure in the northeast U.S.
Representatives from other heating gas and oil companies in the area—Ira Wyman Fuels, AmeriGas Propane, and Griffith Energy—said they could not comment on their own prices.
County agencies like the Department of Social Services and Office for the Aging offer Home Energy Assistance Programs (HEAP) to help individuals with low-income pay heating bills. The monthly income levels per family size to qualify are:
• One person household, $2,030.
• Two, $2,654.
• Three, $3,279.
• Four, $3,903.
• Five, $4,528.
• Six, $5,152.
However, President Barack Obama has talked about making cuts nationally to the aid available for low-income heating programs.
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