Higher Heating Bills Expected In Cortlandt

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climate Data Center is predicting a colder winter than last year and, consequently, more heating usage. Photo Credit: National Climate Data Center

CORTLANDT, N.Y. — Because of higher delivery costs and predictions of a colder winter, Cortlandt residents could see slightly higher monthly heating bills than they did last year.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climate Data Center is predicting a colder winter than last year and, consequently, more heating usage.

For those using home heating oil, the monthly bill would be as cheap as it was last year if not for the colder winter Cortlandt is expected to get, said AAA spokesperson Robert Sinclair.

Crude oil, which makes up 60-70 percent of every gallon of heating oil, is $93 per barrel. That's "cheaper than it's been," compared to its peak of $110 per barrel in 2012, Sinclair said.

"If things remain as they are right now — demand down, mild weather, inventory up and crude oil prices down — it will bode well for home heating bills this year," he said.

But colder weather could create a crude-oil competition between heating oil and gasoline, resulting in a higher demand and higher prices, Sinclair added.

According to Dan Sabadka, office manager of Buy Rite Fuel, an average Cortlandt household can expect to use about 1,000 gallons per year. Heating oil is most heavily used between December and February, he said.

"The beginning of January, this is definitely one of the busiest weeks," said Sabadka.

"It's hard to say exactly" how much is used in those months, "but I'd say probably 600 or 700 gallons, average," he said. That's about $730 in fuel each month, at Buy Rite's current price.

Town of Cortlandt residents could be at an advantage when purchasing heating oil. Residents can use the town's Cortlandt Heating Oil Program (CHOP) to receive rates of 30-40 cents above the average wholesale oil price.

For example, if the regular home heating oil price at Buy Rite Fuel is $3.65 per gallon, the Buy Rite Fuel CHOP member rate is $3.60 per gallon, as of Thursday. 

The Town of Cortlandt administers this program. Residents become members by registering and paying a $5 admission fee. 

Those who use natural gas to heat their homes will see a slight increase in their bills.

"Even with the increase, natural gas is more efficient and less costly than heating oil," said Con Edison spokesperson Allan Drury, via email. 

Thanks to the natural-gas boom across the nation, costs are at their lowest in a decade. Delivery costs for Con Edison, which provides natural gas to Cortlandt homes, have increased by 9.4 percent from last year, bringing the average gas-heating residential bill to about $367 per month for November through March. Last year, the average was $336.

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