EASTERN PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) – Homeowners may have to pay more to stay warm this winter.
A recent report released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that, compared to last year, households nationwide that primarily use heating oil will spend 43% more, while those that use propane will spend 54% more.
EIA data shows that Rhode Island customers paid nearly $ 4.00 a gallon this week to heat their homes.
The EIA also predicts that nearly 50% of Americans who primarily use natural gas to heat their homes will spend 30% more than they spent on average last year, according to the report.
As 12 News reported last month, residents of Rhode Island who use natural gas could see their rates increase as much as 7% in the winter.
“For a residential heating which totals approximately $ 93, it is $ 93 more compared to the last heating season”, explained Thomas Kogut, spokesperson for the RI Division of Utilities and Carriers (DPUC).
Kogut said distribution costs and supply components are two reasons behind the tariff hike, which the DPUC will vote on in a public meeting later this month. The increase would then come into effect on Monday, November 1.
Anyone who has difficulty paying the fuel costs can apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which is funded by federal grants.
According to RI’s Department of Social Services (DHS), LIHEAP awarded more than 26,000 heating grants as part of its non-crisis program last year, and the agency expects more people need help this winter.
To be eligible, a household must reach 60% of the state’s median income levels. Homeowners and renters can apply, DHS said, and family size, fuel type, and minimum delivery requirements are all considered.
DHS said it was working with Community Action Program (CAP) partners to help people complete their LIHEAP applications. There is also a LIHEAP crisis assistance program which helps people whose heating has been turned off because they have not paid their “regulated energy bill”.
DHS will be able to help more Rhode Islanders this winter, the agency said, as additional funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) will prevent it from running out of money for aid. heating.
To make its estimates in the report, the EIA used information from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which predicts a colder-than-average winter.