Increase in heating prices has made it difficult for many to heat their homes

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – With the bitter cold temperatures we’ve had, it’s no surprise home heating costs skyrocketed this winter.

22News spoke with some families who say they’re now at risk for having their utilities shut off because they can’t keep up with the payments.

As the temperature on your thermometer went down, the prices for home heating went up.. and by a lot.

“It’s been pretty expensive, every year they send you a letter in August asking if you want to lock in for the year and it’s hard to know whether or not to do that, becuase sometimes the prices go up, sometimes they go down,” said Cassandra Onorato of Springfield.

Well this year locking in a low rate would have been a good idea. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates here in the northeast, propane customers spent almost 25 percent more than last year.

For some families, it was so much more, they couldn’t keep up with the costs, and had to find new ways to stay warm.

“One thing I never liked is being cold. So I’m just layering and using electric heating pads and that’s it, it’s been a tough year,” said Beverly Capparelli of Springfield.

But relief is on the way. With the cold temperatures we’ve had, the state has given Holyoke’s Valley Opportunity Council $1.4 million to give to families who are struggling to pay their home heating bill.

“Many of these people are really struggling. They’re at the very low end of the income spectrum and they don’t have money to pay their utility bills, which gets really high during the winter,” said Gail Pisacane of the Valley Opportunity Council.

“My furnace just went, I got to get a new furnace. And it’s a toss up I don’t know if I should stick with oil or go with gas,” said Mr. O’Sullivan of Springfield.

Regardless of what heating system you use, prices for everyone went up this year.

If you heat with gas or electricity and are in need of some help you can apply for up to $600 from the Valley opportunity council to pay your utility bills.

To find out if you qualify for assistance from the Valley Opportunity Council, you can give them a call at 552-1548.



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