Winter heating costs may increase for natural gas customers

National Fuel has come out with their suppliers’ predictions for home heating costs for the upcoming winter, and the number is increasing.

BUFFALO, NY – As we all prepare for colder weather to arrive, Western New Yorkers are being warned to prepare for sticker shock on their energy bills if they use natural gas to heat their homes.

National Fuel has come out with their suppliers’ predictions for home heating costs for the upcoming winter, and the number is increasing.

National Fuel spokeswoman Karen Merkle said if you hear this, you might think twice before adjusting the thermostat: “Unfortunately, your natural gas bills are following each consumer’s spending trend, and bills for production and winter heating will be much higher than customers. They are used to pay.”

Related: Gillibrand proposes bill that would expand HEAP eligibility

National Gas predicts that the average natural gas residential customer will pay $1,023 this year from November to March. This is a 50 percent increase.

Last year’s estimate was $714, down slightly from a warmer-than-normal winter.

2 on your side asked: “We have a very large supply of natural gas. Why is the price so high? How do you help people understand this?”

Merkel replied: “Well, they have to look at it. It’s not just Western New York. It’s certainly the whole industry, and it’s the whole world that affects the cost of natural gas supply.”

Russia’s war in Ukraine and Europe has cut off Russia as a major natural gas supplier, and the United States now ships more liquefied natural gas to Europe by tanker.

Merkel added: “Last year we saw a significant increase, and compared to the previous two years, the cost of natural gas supplies more than doubled.” So that’s why the utility bills will be so high. I mean, the last time our customers saw utility bills was the summer of 2008-2009.

University of Buffalo professor Dr. Sayanti Mukherjee focuses on researching and modeling energy demand.

“A large number of power plants burn natural gas, so they are very interdependent,” said Dr. Mukherjee.

In New York State, the push to ditch fossil fuels like coal has shifted to natural gas-fired power plants in Tonawanda that now generate more than 50 percent of the electricity. According to New York’s Independent System Operator, which coordinates electricity generation and distribution for utility companies.

So with demand and price increases, we now see something called energy poverty.

“Energy poverty is being exposed in the US. It’s a term that’s been widely used in the UK and European countries for a long time, but we haven’t focused on that in the US,” Dr Mukherjee said.

National Fuel has some energy-saving ideas and suggestions.

“The first recommendation is to make home heating systems work efficiently and effectively to prevent wasted energy. Outdated heating and cooling systems and old-fashioned or inadequate insulation can increase energy costs. In addition, there are cheaper ways for consumers. Residential areas are more energy efficient. Conservation incentive program Provides tips for making a home more energy efficient, so you’re cutting emissions while meeting New York State energy goals to heat homes using less energy. Tips are available at Some common guidelines include:

Reducing air leaks to save as much as 10% on your monthly energy bill. Homeowners can use caulking or weatherstripping to seal leaks around floors, walls, ceilings, ducts, fireplaces, plumbing, doors, windows, fans, vents, and electrical outlets.

  • Set thermostats between 65° and 70° during the winter, and 58° when away from home for more than a few hours. By turning your thermostat back 10-15° for eight consecutive hours, you can save 5%-15% a year on your heating bill – up to 1% savings for every degree.
  • Automatically turn off thermostats without sacrificing comfort by installing a programmable thermostat.
  • Change or clean furnace air filters once a month during the heating season. Stoves consume less energy if they “breathe” easily. Use your natural gas bill as a reminder to change the filter
  • Warm air rises, so use logs to direct the flow of warm air across the floor.
  • Close vents and doors in unused rooms. Turn off unused fireplaces
  • Set your water heater to 120° or medium temperature. Every three months, run a liter of water down the drain of your water heater to remove any sediment that affects the efficiency of your unit.
  • Cover the water heaters with a blanket according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Install backflow preventers in sinks and faucets.
  • Open curtains and blinds on windows that receive direct sunlight on sunny days. Close them at night or on cloudy days to prevent the cold air outside
  • If the radiators are located near cold walls, place a sheet of aluminum foil between the radiator and the wall to return heat to the room.

Western New York customers have several payment assistance programs to receive much-needed funds to pay their bills if they meet eligibility requirements.

Discount programs can keep bills affordable and others can even forgive past dues if the applicant pays the discounted rate each month on time. The government program is available to customers receiving other government assistance and to customers receiving a full waiver due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on the following programs, any customer looking for help managing their energy bill should call National Fuel at 1.800.365.3534 or visit the utility’s website today at

  • Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) – Opened November 1st, this federally funded program will provide substantial assistance with energy bills, with grants ranging from $400-$476 for basic and emergency assistance of up to $400.
  • Bill relief program for NYS residential customers – State energy bill forgiveness program for income-eligible customers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Residential customers who receive qualified government assistance will receive account credits for unpaid balances for services paid through May 1, 2022. Customers must be enrolled in the National Fuel Statewide Low Income Program (SLIP) or receive HEAP by December 31, 2022. give away.
  • Neighbor to Neighbor Heat Fund – $500 subsidies help customers meet basic energy needs in any of the following situations: disabled, with a certified medical emergency, at least 55 years old, recently unemployed or a veteran.
  • Special protections – There are protections for customers living in households where all residents are 62 years or older, 18 years or younger, or disabled.
  • Deferred payment plans – Special arrangements can be made for a payment plan based on individual financial circumstances.

National Fuel recommends that customers use Budget planning For stable monthly payments, assuming usage over a 12-month period. This plan prevents current bill changes by allowing you to pay a fixed amount each month and receive alerts when the set amount is scheduled to change, and takes the guesswork out of planning utility costs. Based on the current winter temperature forecast, the average monthly residential customer bill on a budget plan will be $130 per month, up from a seasonal high of $250-plus per month this winter.

In addition, the price of connected electricity is increasing. National Grid expects another five dollars a month for the average Western New York customer, and possibly more with a bad winter.

We do not yet have a winter temperature forecast from New York State Electric and Gas.

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