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North country residents talk rise in heat bills

in Local News 97 views

WATERTOWN — It’s no secret that this winter was a cold one throughout the north country, and residents are seeing their gas and electric bills skyrocket.

“It is ridiculous,” said Kimberly A. Morris, who heats her Belleville home with natural gas and has seen her winter bill increase by $100 compared to last year.

Ms. Morris is also responsible for writing checks for bills at work. She said she has seen statements for the home in which she works as a caretaker dramatically increase, from about $380 last month — with several below-zero days — to $560 this month.

According to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, in January 2021, the average price of natural gas for home heating in the state was around $11.21 per thousand cubic feet, which steadily increased before reaching its peak in August at an average of $23.11. The price declined over the next few months, with the last reported data coming in November 2021, which saw prices at a statewide average of $17.29. This is close to a 55% increase from January.

Heating oil prices have also gone up in the region, according to NYSERDA.

NYSERDA says that in September 2020, the average home heating oil price in the north country was $2.38 per gallon. Prices exceeded $3 per gallon in September 2021, and have steadily climbed. Prices in the region — which NYSERDA defines as Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence and Warren counties — topped $4 by mid-February and hit an average $4.78 per gallon last week. This time last year, the region’s average was $2.96 per gallon.

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