Cost for winter heating is skyrockets

By WEEK Reporter

February 26, 2014 Updated Feb 27, 2014 at 12:48 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Across the nation, and here in Central Illinois, consumers are feeling the frigid pains of winter.

With constant below zero temperatures, most families are spending more on their heating costs. Experts said it is a double whammy, both in both price and demand hike.

As for the numbers in the Midwest, the average family using natural gas will have paid $690 in heat this winter up from $652 last season. For electric heat the cost averages at $1,000.

Propane costs are the highest the Midwest has ever seen. Propane is expected to cost families $1,942 from $1,333 last winter. That is a 46-percent increase.

"Nobody expected it to be this cold for this long. That's the real problem," said National Energy Assistance Director's Association Executive Director Mark Wolfe. "So the supplies that were there at the beginning of the winter heating season looked like they would be adequate. But then the pressure for heating put a lot of pressure on propane and for natural gas. The supply wasn't adequate."

Experts say you can no longer count on rates to lower your bill. Energy efficiency is a consumer's biggest weapon against rising costs for heat.

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