Because of projections of colder weather and people continuing to shelter at home due to the pandemic, home heating costs are expected to grow this winter. But many could get a break in New England, which is heavily dependent on heating oil.

From a story reported on by WWLP/22 News, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects a 10% decline in spending for home heating oil this winter while spending for propane is projected to grow 14%.

There are projected increases of 6% for natural gas, and 7% for electricity, according to the agency.

Many families were already struggling to pay utility bills because of the pandemic, so any increase is a concern, said Mark Wolfe of the National Energy Assistance Directors Association in Washington, D.C.

Overall, the projections are bad news. But it’s potentially good news for those in New England who use heating oil.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, oil prices remain depressed around the world, and nearly 20% of homes in the Northeast rely on oil furnaces for their primary heating source.

With so much uncertainty, the National Energy Assistance Directors Association is asking Congress for at least an additional $4.3 billion for home energy assistance for the coming year, Wolfe said.

The extra funding would help people with outstanding utility bills, as well the need for assistance in the coming year, he said.

About one out of seven households is behind on energy bills and arrearages will grow without more federal help, Wolfe said.

For more on the story, visit WWLP's website here.

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