Cold Weather Costs

With an eight-percent rise in natural gas prices, people on fixed incomes are being hit the hardest.

People say the price to stay warm is rising too fast. A growing number of people are seeking financial help just to survive the cold.

People taking a walk around our area are bundling up tight this winter, as temperatures struggle to rise over the freezing mark.

To stay warm inside, people have been turning up their thermostats, but then end up with some of their largest heating bills ever.

"When they come in, they're like, 'My bills have never been this high before.' And they're just overwhelmed with how high the bills are this year, with the gas prices and everything going up,” explains Caldonia Boldon, Heating Assistance Program Manager.

The U.S. Department of Energy says natural gas prices have risen eight-percent, which is higher than their predictions before winter.

People who rely on gas to heat their family's homes say they'll be looking for assistance as long as prices remain so high.

"We're going to still seek some help. We can't just pay for all the expenses and then the increased gas prices, then food. We need some relief,” says Laverne Carter, she’s seeking assistance for her father's bills.

Experts say price relief is not in the near future.

The good news, for people on a limited income, assistance is available.

But everyone else has little choice. Either pay the higher rates to keep the furnace burning, or bundle up, even inside.

Heating your home is more expensive for everyone this year, but natural gas users are seeing the highest price hike.

There are other options, and in fact: propane can be more affordable than natural gas, but propane dealers say the cost of installing a new propane heating system is so high it cancels out any benefit of quitting natural gas.