Plunging Temps Cause Heating Bills to Soar

Winter heating bills will be higher than last year and far outstrip prediction from October, the Energy Information Administration said Wednesday.

Mark Burger delivers propane Jan. 24, 2014, to a Wisconsin farmhouse. An unusually cold winter caused a shortage of propane in the Midwest, forcing a price surge.

Mark Burger delivers propane Jan. 24, 2014, to a Wisconsin farmhouse. An unusually cold winter caused a shortage of propane in the Midwest, forcing a price surge.

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Start searching the sofa cushions. 

Plunging temperatures this winter have sent home heating bills through the roof, the Energy Information Administration said.


As the winter comes to a close, Americans will likely spend more on average this winter to keep their houses warm compared to last winter, largely due to the colder-than-average temperatures that swept across much of the continental U.S.

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“Persistently cold weather east of the Rocky Mountains drove up demand for all heating fuels, depleted inventories, and put upward pressure on prices,” the agency wrote on its website Wednesday.

Propane-fueled homes will likely see the highest increase in expenditures, leaping about 54 percent higher than last year. Homes relying on heating oil will see an increase of 7 percent, natural gas 10 percent and electricity 5 percent, the EIA predicted in its March Short-Term Energy Outlook.

The estimates “are significantly higher than the pre-winter forecasts in the October 2013 Short-Term Outlook,” the agency said.

“The extreme weather had the greatest effect on households in the Midwest that primarily use propane and on households in the Northeast that use heating oil,” the EIA said.


Midwest homes relying on propane will probably end up spending $2,212 on heating this winter – $759 higher than was projected in October. Americans overall will likely spend $197 more than expected.

The Northeast proved 13-percent colder than last winter, the Midwest and South 19-percent colder and the West 5-percent warmer.