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Northeast May Pay the Price This Winter...for Heat

By by Erica Brecher, Staff Writer
December 04, 2011, 8:25:43 AM EST

The energy cost forecast this winter is bleak, especially for millions of people in the northeast United States.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says homes heated by oil may face record-high bills this winter. The price of oil is expected to increase about 10 percent from last year. Winter is defined as October through March by the EIA.

Only about 10 percent of Americans still use oil to heat their homes, but that's more than 8 million people, and most of them are concentrated in the Northeast.

The increase means that heating homes with oil will cost an average of $2,535, according to CNN Money.

Geography only exacerbates the issue. The Northeast is one region where longer and colder winters occur.

The good news for oil-heated homes is that Northern New England could see above-average snowfall and some cold blasts, but extreme cold will only be temporary, according to Meteorologist Meghan Evans.

The Northeast in general "will see cold, but it will be followed up by warm-ups similar to what we've seen so far [this season]," she said.

The 2011-2012 Winter Forecast Update still predicts that the worst of winter will hit the Northern Plains and the Midwest.

Comparing Alternatives

Compared with other energy sources, the EIA says that the spike in oil will cost double the "projected average cost of natural gas delivered to households in the Northeast."

Natural gas prices will rise also to between 2.2 and 4 percent this winter and are expected to be stable. The average homeowner who uses natural gas can expect to pay about $732 this season.


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