Heat Bills Cooling

Post Register
Printed on Wednesday October 7, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Staying warm won't be quite as expensive this winter.

People who heat with natural gas should do especially well, seeing their lowest bills in five years. But no matter what fuel is used, heating costs are expected to take less of a bite out of household budgets -- from $20 to as much as $280 lower than last winter depending on what fuel is used, the government says.

An expected milder winter, along with lower fuel costs, should cut average residential heating costs by 8 percent from last year, the Energy Information Administration said in its annual winter outlook.

The nearly 58 million households that use natural gas stand to save about $105 compared with last year, and propane users will get an even bigger break -- as much as $280. More modest reductions, $20 to $60, are expected for people who use electricity or fuel oil to heat their homes.

The federal agency cautioned that its projections are overall averages based on broadly expected weather conditions and fuel supply and cost trends. How much a family actually spends also will depend on weather, the size and energy efficiency of their home, and the efficiency of furnaces and other equipment.

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Did you know?

Though Idaho Falls Power raised its rates Thursday by 4 percent, heating bills shouldn't go through the roof.

Intermountain Gas Co. lowered its rates Thursday by 22 percent for residential users.

Help is available if you struggle with bills, too. Call Intermountain Gas Co. at (800) 548-3679 or Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership at 522-5391.

Anyone interested in cutting their electric consumption should call Idaho Falls Power at 612-8526.