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Help available for people struggling with rising natural gas prices

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 5:54 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Supply and demand issues for natural gas have caused prices to climb. National Grid expects home heating costs to jump more than 30 percent this winter in northern New York.

“The supply is not there and, as a result, when there is high demand, prices go up,” said Jared Paventi, spokesperson, National Grid.

The utility is projecting big jumps in natural gas heating bills this winter - up 31 percent from last year

Paventi says it’s due to production not keeping up with demand across the country and natural disasters are partly to blame

“The ice storm in Texas back in February took some production and refineries off line for a while and they have not caught back up,” he said.

Paventi says there are ways to prepare for a sudden price hikes:

  • seal windows and doors to avoid outside drafts
  • lower your thermostat one of two degrees
  • keep your blinds open on a sunny, frigid day to help heat rooms inside

There are also financial programs through National Grid and the federal government.

“HEAP is assistance based on income and family size for paying your heating bills through the winter,” said Sabrina Cummins, Home Energy Assistance Program coordinator, Jefferson County Office for the Aging.

She says a person of any age can apply for assistance, something she expects to see more of soon.

“Definitely an increase in a utility bill is going to be an increase in request for services,” she said.

You can now ask for help sooner. Governor Hochul opened the ability to apply for HEAP 6 weeks earlier this year.

Here are links to resources:

https://www.nationalgridus.com/Upstate-NY-Home/Energy-Saving-Programs/

https://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/

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