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Energy Department Predicts Higher Home Heating Costs

October 25, 2010 The cost of heating your home this winter may rise significantly because of higher fuel costs and colder temperatures than last winter, according to the annual outlook issued by the Department of Energy.

The Energy Information Administration is predicting that home heating oil bills will rise 12 percent to $2,124 on average. Natural gas bills will rise an average 5.7 percent to $778, the administration said. The two factors that may drive up heating costs are rising fuel prices and a colder forecast than last winter's. However, a group that represents home heating oil retailers says there is enough supply to accommodate the expected higher demand.

"We are very confident that once we get into the heating season, and the realization that heating oil inventory is almost 20 percent higher than the five-year average is going to come into play, we think you will see a price environment that might actually be a little more favorable than what has been projected by EIA," said Eric DeGesero, the executive vice president of the New Jersey Fuel Merchants Association.

DeGesero said despite all the snow, last winter was warmer than normal in New Jersey. "So the EIA (Energy Information Administration) projection of a colder winter this year would only have us back to what would be a normal winter," he said. "I certainly caution the weather will ultimately influence what the price is since it will influence the supply and demand picture."

DeGesero said the best way to avoid a high heating bill is to conserve. He recommends winterizing your home, setting the thermostat lower, and tuning up your heating machinery inside the home so it runs efficiently.

Click here to read the full article from New Jersey 101.5 FM

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