BUFFALO, N.Y. - National Fuel customers will have to pay more to heat their homes this winter. The utility announced a heating bill increase on Thursday.

National Fuel estimates its customers will see a $5.23 a month increase from last winters bill. For a five-month winter heating season from November to March it will cost you $585.84 to heat your home. Compared to last years $559.68, this means a $26.16 increase from last year.

In a news release, National Fuel cited a couple reasons for the increase. It stated that fluctuating weather forecasts for the winter has made it difficult to determine the average cost of keeping warm this year. Also mentioning that the 2017-2018 winter season was slightly colder than normal.

Though the extra cost is a burden on Western New York customers, the utility also noted that its rates are the most affordable in the state of New York.

"While no customer likes to see increases in any of their bills, natural gas bills continue to remain historically low when compared to even ten years ago when the average winter heating season bill was $1,068.13," said Karen L Merkel, spokesperson for National Fuel.