BUFFALO, NY - This winter's above average temperatures are helping homeowers pay below average heating bills. According to National Fuel, the winter heating bill (November 2011 to March 2012) for the average residential customer is expected to be five percent less compared to last winter. Households that have balanced billing should also see a drop.
"All of our customers should be seeing a decrease in price across the board," say National Fuel spokeswoman Karen Merkel.
The unusually warm temperatures are not the only reason for the recent decrease in price. Merkel also says the large amount of domestic natural gas from the Marcellus Shale play contributes to the falling price.
To heat a three bedroom house last during the 2010-11 winter season, National Fuel says it cost customers on average $732 ($146.90 per month). This season that's dropped to $696 ($139.20 per month). That's a savings of about $7 a month. Merkel adds when gas was at its peak in 2005-06, the average customer bill was approximately $1,124 ($224.80 per month) . Costs are now down 62 percent.
Snyder homeowner Rick Schmitt says his bill "roughly dropped from $137 to $101." He says he can even recall receiving a bill with a zero balance. It's likely Schmitt's savings are more significant than the average customer because of the new furnace he installed last year. While the new furnace was an expensive upgrade, Schmitt says "it was worth it, it paid for itself."
If you are still having difficulties paying your home heating bill, HEAP is here to help. "We realize people have or are having difficulties paying their bill," says Merkel. "We encourage them to apply to the heating assistance program."
There are also easy ways you can decrease your bill. Merkel suggests lowering the temperature on your water heater throughout the year or purchasing a programmable thermostat.
Click here for additional ways to lower home heating costs.