Hooray, We Can Expect Lower Heating Bills This Winter

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration says a milder winter is just one reason Americans may save on energy costs this winter.

You’ll likely be spending less money to keep your home warm this winter, regardless of what fuel source you use for heat.

“U.S. households in all regions of the country can expect to pay lower heating bills this winter because temperatures are forecast to be warmer than last winter, and that means less demand for heat,” said Adam Sieminski, administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in an emailed statement.

According to the EIA, milder winter weather combined with a record rebound in natural gas stockpiles and a drop in the price of crude oil led to the anticipated drop in energy costs.

The EIA said the average heating costs for consumers who use heating oil will decrease by 15 percent compared to last year. But consumers who rely on propane may see savings of up to 27 percent on heating bills from October through March.

About half of U.S. households use natural gas to heat their homes. The EIA said those households will save about 5 percent in heating costs this year.

“Even if this winter is as cold as last year’s, the net withdrawal from natural gas inventories over the heating season would not be as large as last winter’s drawdown because domestic gas production this winter is expected to be significantly higher than it was last winter,” Sieminski said.

If you use electric heat, you can expect to save about 2 percent in heating costs this year, as compared to last winter.

“Overall, electricity expenditures are less sensitive to winter heating demand because, unlike other heating fuels, electricity is also used to power dozens of appliances and equipment within a home, a level of demand that doesn’t vary with the weather,” the EIA said.

One cautionary note: These projections rely on the weather, which is unpredictable at best. National Geographic said the outlook is still favorable for consumers, even if the weather doesn’t fully cooperate.

For those who put stock in such things, the Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a colder-than-normal winter in the Midwest and East. The EIA said that if the weather does turn out to be 10 percent colder than government forecasters expect, households that use electricity and natural gas for heating will see their total bills rise, though in single digits, while heating oil and propane users will still end up paying less overall than they did last winter thanks to lower fuel costs.

What fuel source do you use to heat your home? Did you experience higher than average heating bills last winter? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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