Rising heating bills shock Americans

Rising heating bills this winter have left many homeowners in shock. The increased cost of fuel such as gas has made heating bills jump by anything from 5% to 50% this winter. The increased costs were anticipated, with federal agencies warning last fall that a big jump was expected.

Still, in some regions, heating bills are higher than forecasters believed they would be.

Money Magazine spoke to homeowners who reported heating bills double their 2021 levels in January. While agencies had warned of rising costs, many Americans were caught off guard by heating bills that are outpacing inflation and are much higher than the forecasts anticipated.

“I literally think I gasped,” one Minnesota resident said to a local CBS news station after seeing her $350 January heating bill. “I looked back to January [2021], and it was double what it was last year.”

Residents in Wyoming have reported that their heating bills have increased by $100 or more than that, compared to the same time last year. In Iowa, energy officials admitted that the average residential gas bill increased 106% in December. Moreover, the natural gas supplier for the states of Alabama, Missouri and Mississippi upped prices by 96% this year. What with January being especially cold compared to previous years, this meant homeowners saw their heating bills rise by $50 to $150, depending on the size of their home. Residents in states such as New Hampshire, Wisconsin, northern California, New York City and Ohio have also reported similar steep increases in heating costs.

“Natural gas prices have skyrocketed globally,” Megan McFarland, a spokesperson for Pacific Gas & Electric, told an NBC station in California. “We’ve seen a 90% higher cost than last winter. We’re not making any money off this situation.”

The higher utility bills can particularly affect low-income households who spend three times as much of their income on energy costs. Money Magazine reports, citing Natural Resources Defense Council data. Programs are available to help low-income residents pay their energy bills.

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