Very cold snaps all over the country have resulted in high prices for heat, mainly, propane and natural gas.
Not only are people needing to buy more fuel to heat their homes, but the heat they're buying is more expensive.
“It has been a cold winter, there's no question about it. And that has driven up demand for all heating fuels: natural gas, propane, wood and heating oil,” said Matt Cota, Executive Director of Vermont Fuel Dealers Association.
It's the law of supply and demand: lots of people dealing with bitter cold, means a lot of heat needed which has lead to a jump in price.
That's what's caused natural gas prices to rise to over $5/btu for the first time in 4 years.
“It’s the market balances itself out with storage volumes, and with the drawn down on storage, the reaction is that the market increases,” said Vermont Gas’ John St. Hilaire.
Only 14% of Vermont homes are heated with natural gas. Most are in Chittenden and Franklin counties and customers of Vermont Gas. They could see their bills go up in the spring.
“Any price change could be reflected in our next quarterly PGA which takes effect in May,” said St. Hilaire.
Propane prices are up 10% from this time last year. High demand doesn't help but the real culprit actually comes from the Midwest.
Farmers there needed very high volumes of propane to dry their corn last fall which depleted the supply.
“Farmers used an extraordinary amount of propane in the fall and as a result, and now their supplies in the Midwest are very low,” said Cota.
Will the price increase affect customers? That depends on how you buy it.
“For those that have locked in prices in the summer, they're experiencing much lower prices than those that just buy it as they go along,” said Cota.
If you're an oil customer, your prices are actually down from last year. Oil supply is not a problem.
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