Indiana Daily Student

Rising gas prices to increase heating bills

Bloomington residents might have to turn down the heat this winter.
Gas and electric companies project that the price for natural gas heating will rise as much as 15 to 25 percent from last year, due to an increase in all fuel prices.

Vectren Corporation provides gas and electricity to more than two-thirds of Indiana and west central Ohio and is the gas provider to more than 990,000 customers. Vectren’s Communication Director Chase Kelley said Vectren is concerned about the consequences rising costs will have on already struggling Hoosiers.

“People are paying more at the pump, paying more at the grocery store, and now you’re seeing an increase in energy prices,” Kelley said.

Vectren calculates that the average customer who paid about $680 for heating last winter, from November through March, will see their bill increase to as high as $850 for the same time span.

Rental companies in Bloomington are working to make sure their tenants do not break the bank this winter when paying the heating bill.

John Burnham Jr. of Burnham Rentals said they are trying to help residents keep their heating bills down.

“We have several older houses with gas heat that the residents pay, but we are in the process to better insulate the homes and install new windows to prevent the heating bill from becoming any higher,” Burnham said. “I haven’t received any complaints from the residents of those buildings where we’ve done the upgrades.”

Burnham said most of their rentals now use electric heating, or are entirely electric.
“Several years ago, when gas prices began rising, we began to use electric,” Burnham said. “It’s easier in a lot of ways, and less expensive. As of right now, anything we build we’ll use electric.”
Bloomington renters are turning their backs on natural gas before anything else.
Burnham said he has recently received more calls from potential tenants who want to know if Burnham rentals uses electric or gas.

“I’ve had calls for housing where people don’t want natural gas heat because they had experienced extremely high gas bills from previous rentals,” he said.

Sophomore Emily Russell said the increase in energy prices is driving her and her roommates from a large house this year to a much smaller apartment next year.
“We’re planning to move to an apartment next year because rent and utilities are so high in a big house.”

Russell said rising gas prices make her nervous.

“If I’m going to pay utilities and gas prices are higher, then my utilities are going to be higher,” Russell said. “It makes me nervous because if gas prices are rising and I have to pay more to fill up my car and then I have to pay more for utilities, I’ll be constantly scrounging for money.”

Vectren recommends people do everything in their power to maintain an energy-efficient lifestyle.

“Not everyone can afford a new water heater or furnace,” Kelley said. “But everyone can afford to wash their clothes in cold water, or to leave the drapes open during the day. Little things that can have a significant effect.”

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