This cold weather is costing us. The price of natural gas was already going to be higher this winter compared to last anyway, by 3 to 13 percent, says Jim Chilsen of the Citizens Utility Board. “Federal predictions were that we’re going to be paying more for our gas bills, and local utilities confirmed that, that people would be paying higher gas bills. Now, that was before the phenomenon of the polar vortex and this cold snap. We’re all bracing to see how this is going to impact our bills just in terms of usage,” he said.
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There have been record highs in demand, storage withdrawals and wholesale prices for natural gas, according to the federal government. Chilsen says if you have a big house and you crank the heat, it’ll cost you hundreds more than last winter. CUB is urging homeowners who want to stay warm but spend less to make sure furnaces are clean and have clean filters, that drafts are sealed, and that radiators and heat registers are free of obstruction, and to use a ceiling fan to circulate the heat.