Winter heating bills to rise as inflation hits homes

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REGIONAL (WTAJ) – Inflation turmoil is how many are describing the rising costs in products across the nation. Its impact is being felt in homes all across our area, and now a new concern, the government expects households could see heating bills jump as much as 50 percent higher compared to last year.

The surge is already here, and according to Dave Talmage, the general manager of Smith Propane & Oil, who serves Blair, Somerset, and Cambria county areas, that price isn’t likely to drop anytime soon. Talmage said right now, prices are $0.30-$0.50 higher per gallon than they would be at this time in years past. And he added that as the demand for heat increases, so will the price.

“It seems that the spike is coming early this year, it’s already here. Prices have climbed substantially since the middle of summer,” he said.

Talmage does add that these spikes are partly in fact to lower costs last winter season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But does note a 20-30% hike compared to recent years prior to 2020. Demand also always plays a factor, but another price driver specific to this year is possible supply shortages.

“If there are terminal shortages and running out maybe sometimes you have to drive a little further to get the product. Or make multiple stops to get the product.”

A concerning possibility for residents who wonder how they will be able to keep up with these bills.

“Last year at this time I paid $1.39 for a gallon of propane. This year this time I pay $2.74,” said Tammera Gondek, a Clearfield County resident concerned about these higher costs. “I use 40 gallons every month, so we’re talking a lot of money.”

And those concerns are warranted, as the government projects those who heat their homes with propane are likely to see the highest spikes in costs this winter. As for others? Homes using natural gas for heat can expect to pay nearly $750, 30% higher than a year ago. Electric heating has a projected 6% rise, and heating oil could be up more than 40%

“I’m kind of stretched as it is on regular bills right now so if bills go up I’m not gonna be able to afford to buy gas or… it will be hard to make a living,” said Jason Elensky, another resident concerned about these high prices. “People aren’t gonna be able to buy food and their essential stuff for daily living”

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