Editorial

Cost of home heating fuel will continue to rise

Posted 9/29/22

Those of us who struggled to pay our utility bills this year should be forewarned: this winter could be much worse.

The federal government expects the price of electricity will continue to rise …

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Editorial

Cost of home heating fuel will continue to rise

Posted

Those of us who struggled to pay our utility bills this year should be forewarned: this winter could be much worse.

The federal government expects the price of electricity will continue to rise into 2023, and consumer advocates warn that customer arrears are rising as well.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration last week predicted that prices could rise another 3.3 percent year, adding that prices are already 7.5 percent higher today than they were in 2021. One USEIA official predicted that we can expect to see continued high arrearages accrued by families who cannot afford to pay these high prices on top of continued high rates [of] inflation in other essential goods like food and shelter.

New York’s Public Service Commission is aware that its utilities, including Central Hudson, NYSEG and Orange & Rockland will all file for rate increases and can expect to hear from angry consumers and elected officials acting on their behalf. Mitigation efforts may help, but will only go so far. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) also has some suggestions for New Yorkers to protect against rising energy costs:

• Apply for HEAP. Beginning November 1, applications will be accepted for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) which can provide up to $976 to eligible homeowners and renters depending on income, household size and how they heat their home. To qualify for heating assistance from HEAP, a family of four must have a maximum gross monthly income of $5,485, or an annual gross income of $65,829.

• Take immediate action to be more energy efficient. NYSERDA offers energy saving tips for residents and homeowners, as well as businesses that can lower energy usage. NYSERDA also offers a range of home energy efficiency programs that can help save energy and reduce costs over time. Income-eligible customers may qualify for reduced cost or free energy upgrades to their homes through EmPower New York and Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® programs. Homeowners should also check with their local gas and electric utility companies to access discounted products and services that can help them lower their energy costs all year long.

• Receive a customized list of energy-related assistance in the State. New York Energy Advisor can help income-eligible New Yorkers managers locate programs that help them spend less on energy and create healthier and more comfortable spaces.

• Get a free energy audit. Homeowners across New York are eligible for a free home energy assessment through NYSERDA’s Residential Energy Audit Program. Home energy assessments are available both in-person and using remote technologies.

• Consider bill payment options. When getting in touch with your utility provider, inquire about billing options that allow for deferred payments or “budget billing” options that balance out bills that are higher in one season and lower in another. This can structure your payments and make it easier to navigate costs.

Visit nyserda.ny.gov for more information about the programs, funding and technical assistance available to assist homeowners, renters and businesses manage their energy needs.

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