Higher Heating Bills Expected This Winter

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Knoxville (WVLT) - To fill your home with heat, get ready to empty more from your wallet. The U.S. government says you can expect to pay about 10 percent more to keep warm this winter.

Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy's been looking into this. Why the increase?

The energy information administration estimates you'll pay about 88 bucks more for heat this winter. That's because of higher fuel prices and demand, but for Knoxville families, help is out there.

He says his yard's not scary, but Al Wade calls last month's electric bill flat-out frightening.

"I'm not happy about it," Wade said.

The bottom line, enough to turn the retired trucker white as a ghost.

"It was almost 600 dollars with the water," Wade said.

But he doesn't blame Pooh or Tigger for the monster size bill.

"We do everything possible. I was in the attic the other day checking it and the insulation looked pretty decent," Wade said.

But with "Happy Halloween" comes cooler temperatures, and higher than expected fuel prices mean winter heating bills could be no treat.

"Natural gas customers can expect to see a 10 to 15 percent higher on bills this winter. Electrical customers above five percent higher," said Jennifer Fern from KUB.

Just how much your heating bill will go up depends the most on the weather.

"If it's a warm winter, like we've seen the last few years bills will be more consistent with the past few years," Fern said.

Even that's a big enough financial scare for some Knox County families.

"This year we'll probably serve around two to three thousand depending on the available funds," said Cecilia Waters from the Knoxville/Knox County Community Action Committee.

Funds that come through the Knoxville/Knox County Community Action Committee for the federal Low Income Energy Assistance Program. Families can apply and get help based on income guidelines.

"450 or 500 dollars that's paid directly to the utility vendor," Waters said.

Wade's not ready to pull the plug on his holiday haunting.

"It's like everything else. If you want it, you're going to have to pay for it," Wade said.

Because he says going without electricity, now that's scary. ?

The community action committee takes applications all year long for the federal assistance program. It also offers a program called Project-Help. That's for any Knox County family who could lose their heat.

But you can't apply for it until mid-January.


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