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Heating oil, propane up double-digits

    TRI-COUNTY AREA—Daytime temperatures have been sliding and nights are getting cooler. So as people begin thinking about heating their homes they will find that heating costs are currently higher than last year.
    According to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, prices per gallon for propane, kerosene and heating oil are all up compared to one year ago. In the western region (which includes Yates, Steuben and Schuyler Counties), propane from NYSERDA currently costs $2.68 per gallon. Last year at this time it cost $2.26 per gallon, meaning an 18.5 percent increase.
    Similarly, the cost for kerosene is now at $3.99 per gallon, increasing 28.8 percent. According to NYSERDA, last year at this time it cost $3.11 per gallon.
    Heating oil currently costs $3.65 per gallon. NYSERDA’s cost one year ago was $2.74 per gallon, or a 33 percent increase.
    Roland Penta, president of Sungas Phelps, said their cost for propane is currently $2.69 per gallon. Last year at this time it was $2.39 per gallon, a 12.5 percent increase.
    He said he encourages his customers to budget or pre-buy for propane so they know what they will be paying without surprise price increases. Penta added the price from suppliers changes several times a day.
    Penta said he is also seeing more customers move from oil to propane as a heating source. Meanwhile, he added that propane customers are cutting down on usage because of costs. He said replacing older equipment with newer, more efficient equipment also cuts down on propane use.
    Penta also commented on how the current U.S. price for propane is almost at the same price worldwide; he added in previous years the world price was about 30 to 40 cents more per gallon than the U.S. If the world propane price were to increase $50 a barrel, the U.S. price would also increase, but not as drastically.
    Griffith Energy did not return phone calls by press time, while Ira Wyman Fuels did not want to comment on heating costs.
    For lower income residents, the social services departments offer the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) to heat homes and improve equipment. Eligibility for the program is based on income and the housing situation. The monthly income levels per person are: one person, $2,146; two people, $2,806; three, $3,466; four, $4,127; five, $4,787; six, $5,447; seven, $5,571; eight, $5,695; nine, $5,818; 10, $5,942; 11, $6,136; and add $478 for each additional person.
    For more, call the Yates County DSS at 315-536-5183 and Schuyler County at 607-535-8303.





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