Nov 14, 2022 - News

Richmonders can expect bigger heat bills this winter

Animated illustration of a thermometer in the shape of a dollar bill sign, with temperature rising rapidly

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Energy costs this winter are expected to be the highest in 15 years, Axios' Herb Scribner reports.

What's happening: Higher wholesale fuel prices combined with an increase in demand due to a likely colder winter will hit residential bills hard this year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts in its winter fuel forecast.

How much higher your bill might be this year depends on what part of the country you live in and how you heat your home.

Zoom in: Just over half of all homes in Virginia and Richmond use electricity for home heating, as opposed to natural gas, per census data.

  • Heating bills for those who use electricity in the South are expected to jump 12% ($208 a month), according to the EIA.
  • Natural gas in the South is expected to jump 24% ($127 a month).
  • Heating oil costs will rise by about 27% ($392).
  • Any homes using propane will see a 4% increase ($252).

Of note: The Energy Information Administration forecast is an estimate based on likely fuel increases and weather conditions, but could change.

  • And the South will see less of an increase than most of the rest of the country, per the EIA.

Be smart: Since July, Richmond Gas Works, which facilitates natural gas for the whole metro area, has been able to set the Purchased Gas Cost monthly as opposed to quarterly, Rhonda Johnson, spokesperson for the city Department of Public Utility, tells Axios.

  • And this month that cost actually went down by 33%, from $1.13 per 100 cubic feet in October to 76 cents, Johnson said.
  • Since Gas Works is required to pass the cost to consumers, Richmonders should see the lower rate in their bills this month.

Yes, but: The rate is still higher than last year, and higher heating bills will hit low-income families the hardest.

Gas Works and Dominion Energy offer tips for saving and in some cases, financial assistance or payment plans. Visit their websites for more information.


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