Will Heating Costs Cause a Problem for your Budget?

With Inflation increasing month to month with high prices at  the pumps, groceries skyrocketing, building costs increasing, and many other items going up, What Can You Expect From Heating Bills in The Coming Months

That is the question we asked several providers of heating energy so consumers in the area can plan for their colder weather budgeting.

Jason Higdon, General Manager with DeKalb-Cherokee Gas said their company had a 13 percent residential rate increase on September 1, with small business consumers seeing 12 percent, large commercial 14 percent and Ag consumers a 15 percent increase. He said natural gas pricing is on global scale with supply and demand dictating price. Higdon said their rate increase is due to higher prices charged to them. He did not indicate they expect any further rate hike in the foreseeable future. However, he did say that could change if the US continues to export large amounts of natural gas to Europe due to the shortage there caused by the Russia-Ukraine war. Higdon said  there is not a supply problem in the United States but there is a production problem with governmental regulations playing a major role with the amount produced and available to consumers. He said consumers could talk with their elected State and Federal Representatives about the regulations constraining production.

On the electric side of heating, we spoke with Randall Wilkie, General Manager of the Cherokee Electric Co-op about rates to see if there are any increases planned. He said Cherokee Electric and TVA have no rate increases planned for this heating season. However, he did say that TVA has a fuel rate adjustment that could increase rates. There are several factors which play a part in determining the fuel rate adjustment. One of those factors of course is the weather, in the event of extremely cold weather for an extended period causing the usage and demands to exceed the TVA capacity; they would have to go out on the open market to buy those extra kilowatt hours. He said we did see an increase in fuel rate adjustment in the summer due to the extreme hot weather for an extended period which caused the rate adjustment fluctuate from 2.9 cents per kilowatt hour in June and 4.09 cents in July and up to 4.93 cents in August and back down to 3.27 cents in September. Wilkie said the TVA fuel rate adjustment is based on the cost of providing electricity.

Propane users can expect price increases as the weather gets colder due to propane prices fluctuating based on supply and demand. The propane companies we spoke with said if more propane is being exported to Europe that could affect local prices at home. So, propane users can expect price increases as the demand grows across the country due to colder weather. One spokes person said some companies offer level billing so customers could budget the same each month for propane gas. So, propane customers need to speak with their service representative to see if their company offers that service.

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