Commonwealth Journal

Local News

November 14, 2013

Heating costs to stay on par with last year

Adequate insulation can reduce expenses

Somerset —

With Arctic air nosing its way south so early and often in November, folks around here are wondering about costs for heating homes this winter.
A spot check by the Commonwealth Journal indicates heating costs will be about the same as last year unless colder than normal weather increases monthly heating bills.
Electric and natural gas rates are unchanged from last winter. Fuel oil and kerosene costs are slightly higher and propane is a bit lower. A permit to cut your own firewood is still $20.
Weather has a big impact on winter heating cost. Joy Bullock, corporate communications coordinator for South Kentucky RECC, points out that more electricity will be used for heating “ ... if we have more weather like yesterday (November 12)” when the temperature hovered in the 30s all day with a strong northwest wind.
Nick Comer, spokesman for East Kentucky Power Cooperative, wholesale electric supplier for South Kentucky RECC, agrees.
“We strongly recommend that our customers keep doors and windows tight and their houses well insulated,” said Comer. He cautioned that when comparing heat bills this winter with last, it’s important to remember it was very mild last winter.   
It’s early, but the current weather pattern is pushing Arctic air deep into the southern and eastern parts of the country. Another cold spell is expected next week with temperatures far below normal.
Comer said market prices for both natural gas and coal, fuels for generating plants, are low, and this favorably affects fuel adjustment charges on customers’ bills.
Bullock said the average electrically heated home uses about 1,300 KWH (kilowatt hours) a month. This generates an electric bill of between $123 and $124 a month which includes a $12.82 customer charge to help pay for the utility’s fixed costs.
South Kentucky RECC has several energy-saving programs to assist customers with holding down costs, Bullock reminded. Each office has energy advisors to answer questions, she added.

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