Bad news for New England. Heating costs expected to soar

The Energy Information Administration, “the non-partisan statistical arm of the U.S. Energy Department”, says heating oil costs will be up 36% this winter, with natural gas costs projected to rise 23%.

Having recently moved back to California after 18 months in Connecticut and paying nosebleed amounts to heat the house there, it’s a certainty these projected increases will have some people there in absolute panic.

During Feb. of this year, before moving, we were paying $150 a week in Connecticut to heat a well-insulated 2,100 sq ft house with the thermostat set at 64 during the day and 55 at night. Thus, this winter the projected price there will be more like $200 a week. Some (many?) people will not be able afford that, and could have to choose between food and heat.

Firewood sales in New England are soaring (as is the price per cord) and most firewood dealers are already out of seasoned wood, and even green wood. Pellet stove sales are also increasing.

One problem with both wood and pellet stoves is that, depending on the layout of the house, they may only heat the area around them, not the entire house or bedroom. Pellet stoves also require considerable maintenance and need electricity to run.

Bottom line:

“People are looking for alternatives,” Galok [a stove dealer] said. “They don’t want to be held at gunpoint by the oil people. Yes, we do have a choice.”

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