This winter, you can expect your heating bill to increase significantly. Nationals Fuel gave a warning to its customers. Prices are expected to increase up to 43 percent for customers. This is compared to the cost for natural gas last year from November to March.

National Fuel issued an alert to its customers in Western New York,

Market prices for natural gas supplies have increased significantly from the historic lows experienced in the winters of 2019-20 and 2020-21. New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) natural gas pricing for deliveries this upcoming winter recently topped $6 per MMBtu, more than doubling last winter when pricing averaged under $3 per MMBtu. This rise – driven by several economic factors, including global demand for domestically produced liquefied natural gas, disruptions in domestic production, and lower-than-average national storage inventory levels – has caused an increase in the cost of natural gas purchased and placed in storage by the Utility to meet customer heating needs for the upcoming winter.

National Fuel has several programs that help you offset this increase in your bill:

- The Neighbor For Neighbor Heat - Customers ages 55 years or older, the disabled, people currently receiving unemployment benefits, or are military veterans are eligible for grants of up to $500

- Deferred Payment Agreement - Customers can set up a payment plan for their bill

- Special Protections - If a person in a customers household is 62-years-old or older, 18-years-old or younger, or are blind or disabled, there are certain protections from heat disconnection available

- NYS Emergency Rental Assistance Program - This program offers customers funds towards utilities

You can speak to someone about options by calling National Fuel's customer service line from 7 am to 6 pm at 1-800-365-3234.

New Yorkers Can Now Tap Into $373 Million in Home Heating Aid

As the cold New York winter approaches, Governo Kathy Hochul announced plans to help residents who might struggle with paying their heating bills. On Thursday, September 30, 2021, Gov. Hochul announced that $373 million in home heating aid is available for residents who meet certain income requirements. You can submit your application starting today, October 1 for the Home Energy Assistance Program through the New York Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

Governor Hochul spoke about how keeping warming during winters in New York can be a huge burden on families,

"For so many New Yorkers, the cost of heating during the cold weather season is a major expense that can really strain their household budget. The Home Energy Assistance Program is welcome relief for these individuals and families as winter beckons, ensuring they can heat their homes through the frigid months ahead."

If you are eligible for HEAP benefits, you may receive up to $751 in air, whether as a homeowner or renter. You will need to qualify based on income. You can apply with your local department of social services. The HEAP program is on a first-come, first-served basis, so it's important to get your application in now. You can find your local office here. You can also visit the Governor's website for more info.

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