BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The cost to heat your home or apartment this winter could send shivers up your spine.

National Fuel said on average, its customers could end up paying more than $1,000 to heat their homes this winter. The last time prices were that high was more than a decade ago.

“Unfortunately, your natural gas, winter heating season bill is following the trend of virtually every product and expense, and it will be significantly higher this winter heating season, which are the months of November through March,” said National Fuel spokesperson Karen Merkel.

National Fuel said its customers can expect the cost to heat their homes, apartments or businesses this winter is about to double.

“With the forecast that we released today, the average customer, the winter heating season bill will be approximately $1,023,” Merkel said. “National Fuel customers really haven’t seen those kind of bills since the winter of 2008-2009.”

Merkel added that the rising cost of natural gas is fueled by geopolitical events, including the war in Ukraine.
There’s also a higher demand for natural gas, but she says natural gas pipelines are at full capacity.

“Globally the war in the Ukraine is causing gas prices, even in the U.S., to spike, and then closer to home there’s an increased usage in natural gas,” she said.

Local contractors advise people to get an inspection done now and make sure furnaces are up to date

“Not a bad idea to have someone out to take a look at it, take a look at your options to upgrade to something more efficient pieces of equipment,” said T-Mark Plumbing, Heating & Cooling project manager Ian Donelly.

Other tips include reducing air leaks in the home, and replacing filters.

“Something as simple as a filter, when you think about the filter of a furnace quite often people don’t change them as much as they should and in the wintertime you want to be changing that once a month,” Donelly said. “Our team members are in homes helping homeowners be as efficient as they can, hold onto their dollars that they work for and make sure they’re not spending too much on their utility costs.”

National Fuel is encouraging people who may be struggling to pay their bills to reach out and see if they qualify for their payment assistance programs.

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.