Higher heating bills still affecting many people

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Most people would agree – it was a long, cold costly winter, but the negative impacts of the cold weather are hanging on for some people.

Many people told 22News they are ready to leave the long, bitterly cold, expensive winter behind.

“It’s been a horrible winter. We’ve actually started our plants inside now. It’s just been so cold, and your gas mileage, you don’t get as good gas mileage,” Michael Zanetti of Agawam said.

Some western Massachusetts residents may have to continue to keep a close eye on their home heating bill.

If you heat your home with natural gas, you may have one more higher-than-normal heating bill coming your way. Columbia Gas of Massachusetts had increased its rate by nearly 25%, just for March and April. An average household will pay about $37 extra.

Columbia Gas Spokeswoman Sheila Doiran told 22News the demand for natural gas in the Northeast skyrocketed this winter.

It’s costing the company a lot more to bring the gas here, so customers are now sharing the burden, but some people still expect their April bill will be significantly lower than what they paid in January.

Stephen Piatt of West Springfield told 22News he uses natural gas to heat his home. “25% seems like a lot to me, but it’s not that big of a deal in comparison. You know, it’s still a lot less than buying oil and stuff,” he said.

Columbia Gas rates will go back down on May 1st when the “summer gas season” begins.

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