Heating your home will be an extra $177 this winter. Here’s why
New York If heating your home was expensive last year, you may want to budget extra for this winter — and possibly years to come.
The average cost of home heating is estimated to have increased $177 — nearly 17% — since last winter’s heating season, projects the National Energy Managers Association projects. This will be the second consecutive year of significant price increases and highest prices in more than 10 years.
Since 2020, the cost of home energy has risen more than 35%, according to NEADA data.
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“Putin’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 has a lot to do with this, not exclusive. There are many other factors,” said Gernot Wagner, a climate economist at Columbia Business School. “As long as we depend on commodities, such as oil, coal and especially gas in this case, to heat our homes or run our economy, we will be vulnerable to their price fluctuations.”
And every time you reach high levels, Wagner adds, your utility bills go up.
“We live in inflationary times,” he said.
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However, some of that news is good, Wagner feels, when looking at recovering from the economic effects of the pandemic faster than expected. Much of it is bad news because fossil fuel prices are soaring and volatile, and the United States relies on them to heat homes and boost the economy.
“The answer, and it’s been a long time ago, is to get rid of fossil fuels,” Wagner said.
This is something the Inflation Reduction Act, aptly named, has addressed about the United States’ dependence on fossil fuels and “fossil inflation” – the fact that most of the current inflation is due to rising fossil fuel prices.
“It takes a lot of investment, and that’s exactly where the Inflation Reduction Act comes in,” he said.
However, the additional costs will fall more heavily on lower-income families, according to Mark Wolf, executive director of NEADA.
“Rising household energy costs this winter will put millions of low-income families at risk of defaulting on their energy bills, with no choice but to make difficult decisions between paying for food, medicine and rent,” Wolf said in a written letter. statement.
NEADA sent a letter earlier this month to Congress requesting an additional $5 billion in a low-income home energy assistance program to help cover the higher cost of heating a home, as well as cooling a home due to increased summer heat waves. The two are already linked.
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“Our electrical grid is partially powered by natural gas. If we burn more natural gas during the summer to cover peak electricity because of the extreme heat, that also contributes to higher natural gas prices in the winter,” Wagner said.
For Wagner, the recipe for the cost of rising fossil fuel prices is simply to get rid of fossil fuels. But it takes time to do that.
“The ultimate solution to fossil inflation is getting rid of fossil fuels. It’s about investing in alternative fuels,” he said.
It’s also about practical steps people can take to help lower their heating bills.
“It starts with isolating homes,” Wagner said. “Step two: electrify everything.”
But electrification alone doesn’t do all of that, because America’s electricity supply comes from fossil fuels. Wagner adds that the electrical grid needs to be decarbonized.
“This is the critical third step here,” he said.