Winter Heating Bills Could be Budget Buster

(Mankato, MN) – It’s been a mild start to the winter in Greater Mankato and across Southern Minnesota, but when the cold does finally set in – and it will – it could put a strain on many households’ budgets.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is out with its latest Winter Fuels Outlook and the numbers aren’t friendly.

For the Midwest, those who use natural gas are expected to pay on average $645 from October through March. That’s an increase of 26% or $132 from last year.

Those who heat with electricity will have bills totaling $1,038, up 7% from last year.

Heating oil for the winter is expected to cost a total of $1,346 and users of propane will spend $1,284.

Of course, these figures are just predicted averages. Actual costs are highly dependent on the size and energy efficiency of individual homes and their heating equipment, along with thermostat settings and local weather conditions.

Those who struggle to pay their heating bills can get some help if eligible, through the Energy Assistance Program administered locally by the Minnesota Valley Action Council.

Minnesota also has a cold weather rule, which prevents utilities from shutting off services to those behind on their bills, as long as they have a payment plan in place.

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(Copyright Southern Minnesota News – Alpha Media Mankato. All Rights Reserved.)

Photo credit: midnightcomm/Flickr.

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