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Page added on September 29, 2005

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Heating sticker shock coming

A big jump in natural gas and heating oil could make this a tough winter for homeowners.

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) – Just as prices at the gas pump are generally starting to retreat around the nation, consumers could be in for a much bigger case of sticker shock when they see their home heating bills this winter.

Prices for natural gas, used to heat about three-quarters of U.S. households, and heating oil, used in just 8 percent of homes nationwide but used heavily in the Northeast, are both near record highs. Both have spiked since hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit oil platforms and pipelines in the Gulf and along the Texas and Louisiana coasts.
“The focus is on gasoline prices and all this gouging stuff. But the larger worry as far as I’m concerned is winter fuel,” said Bob Tippee, editor of Oil & Gas Journal, an industry publication.

Heating a typical home with natural gas in colder parts of the country is now expected to cost $1,568 this winter, up 64 percent from $957 last year, according to estimates from the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association, which coordinates energy relief for lower-income families.


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