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Higher Heating Costs May Leave Residents Out In The Cold

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RALEIGH — The price of home heating oil is heating up. Right now prices are 20 to 40 percent higher than this time last year. Most customers will pay about $15 more a month, and the price of keeping warm may climb even higher before winter ends.

Bruce Young delivers heating oil to homes all over the Triangle. He has been a busy man since the cold spell settled in.

"The phones started ringing frantically, and everyone wants some fuel oil for heat," Young says.

Young's customers may be happy to see him, but they are not thrilled when they get the bill. The Purut family are getting by on one income while Chelley stays home with her daughter. They will pay 40 percent more for heating oil this winter.

"I knew it was expensive because I've been calling around, looking around for it," she says. "It's definitely much higher than last year. I paid $1 for it last time, and it's $1.39 now."

Utility companies say they are not profiting from the higher rates. There is not as much heating oil this year. If you think prices are high now, just wait a few months because they are likely to go up again.

Keith Poston, CP&L spokesman, says companies are paying a lot more for natural gas this year. As a result, he says it is costing customers more.

"Normally,North Carolina Natural Gashas to adjust the price of natural gas we charge our customers once a year," he says. "We've raised it five times this year, and we're looking at requesting a couple more increases this winter."

Heating oil prices should not hurt as much next winter. More natural gas is being produced, so there should be a larger supply next year.

Here are some things you can do to make sure your heating bill does not skyrocket when the temperatures plummet:
  • Set the thermostat at 68 degrees when it gets cold outside.
  • Clean furnace filters and make sure your heating system is operating efficiently.
  • Install permanent or temporary storm windows.
  • Buy energy efficient appliances.
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    Stephanie Hawco, Reporter
    Edward Wilson, Photographer
    Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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