Heating Prices Rising
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Energy Center announced that Missourians who use natural gas to heat their homes should expect the average price to jump $78 this winter.
Missourians who use propane can expect a $221 increase from last year (both natural gas and propane use petroleum as a base ingredient).
On Friday, Oct. 19, crude oil hit $90 a barrel, which means heating homes will become pricier.
"Those overall energy prices are usually set by that buying, selling, and trading that happens on that international exchange market," said Kerry Cordray, the DNR Energy Center spokesman.
But for those already struggling to pay their bills, the winter could mean no power at all. So, agencies like the Boone County Resource Center help low-income families pay their bills.
"I was appreciative to have housing, but I also needed electricity and gas, which, I had old bills," Columbia resident Pamela Johnson said. "At this time, I am on a set income. There's no way I could have paid it."
The resource center is part of Central Missouri Community Action, an agency that "empowers individuals and families to achieve self-reliance through a variety of programs designed to fight poverty," according to its web-site. While the center helps needy families in many areas, it sees a big spike in number of people when the weather turns cooler.
"Unfortunately yes, we have a high number of individuals who come into our office that are currently either in threat of being cut off their utilities or have been off for months," said Boone County Community Action Supervisor Adam Tipton.
There are several energy saving things you can do, including getting a free home energy audit from your local utility company.
The Boone County Resource Center will begin helping the general public with heating bills on Nov. 1, but right now, the center only helps the elderly or disabled.