Brutal winter leads to higher heating costs

Updated: 02/26/2014 6:12 PM
Created: 02/26/2014 4:33 PM WHEC.com
By: Josh Nichols

Have you noticed a hike in your heating costs? It's been a brutal winter so far and some people say it's also been a struggle just to pay the bill. Even communities, which typically see affordable prices are dealing with a significant increase. 

February is on track to be the coldest in Rochester in at least seven years. Coming in from this cold to warm-up is becoming more costly for all of us.

Joan Maynard, of Victor, said, “I budget, but I got hit for over $200 above the budget. But I set my thermostat on 65 and put on an extra sweater.”

The unrelenting and unseasonable we’ve seen this winter is hitting everyone’s wallet hard, no matter where you live and no matter how you get your heat.

But one community really noticing the increase is Fairport. Fairport has its own municipal power plant, one of 47 in New York State. More than 14,000 customers in the village and in Perinton receive power at about a third the rate charged by nearby utilities. This year, it is costing Fairport Electric a lot more to supplement power, which means higher costs for customers.

Kay Wharmby, Fairport Village Clerk, said, "The price of natural gas on the markets has gone right through the roof. As a result of that, we've had significant increases in the amount of power we've had to buy to supplement our customers. They'll see it on their bill as something called a PPAC charge. That has gone up actually almost 24% in the current bills that are going out from what it was previously.”

If you are an RG&E customer, you're also feeling the pinch.

Dan Hucko, RG&E spokesman, said, "RG&E last changed its rates in September of 2012. We did not raise our rates in 2013 and we will not raise our rates in 2014. So right now, customers are seeing very high bills and it's all due to the high costs of energy. We urge our customers if they think they're going to have a problem paying their bill to please contact us. The sooner you contact us the better we can talk to you about a suitable arrangement for payment. We have some different options available.”

In the meantime, people are doing whatever they can to keep the costs down and just stay warm.

David Johnson, Victor resident, said, "Part that bothers me the most is I pay more for delivery and other charges than what I do from what I’m using. We've tried to balance it out by adding insulation, caulking, actually turned the thermostat down."

For things you can do to use energy wisely and to cut down on your heating bill, click here.

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