SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Before winter began, it was forecast that heating your home would cost you more. For home heating oil, there were many factors at play.
“Part of it came because refineries after summer had been doing maintenance and that limited their ability to supply as much heating oil and diesel as the market is looking for as well as Russia’s war in Ukraine,” explained Patrick De Haan, the head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.
Rachel Wegman is a shareholder in her family’s business, VanNorstrand Oil Company in Cato. They provide everything but propane in Cayuga County and parts of Onondaga, Oswego, and Wayne counties. The price increase was unlike anything the company has experienced.
“Never seen where prices would jump a dollar, a $1.50 in a week,” Wegman said.
And they don’t control the prices.
“We get our pricing from the terminals in Warners or Brewerton,” Wegman explained. “We deal with five different reps and they also get their product from New York City and things like that.”
As a business owner, she said she felt helpless hearing from customers.
“It was breaking my heart, a lot of people were like I don’t know how I’m going to make it through the winter. I think I’m going to freeze.”Rachel Wegman, VanNorstrand Oil Company Shareholder
She said her company tried to come up with ways to help customers including lowering the minimum delivery and talking with caseworkers from the HEAP programs. With the winter not as cold as it could be can benefit customers.
“It certainly can help mitigate consumption, which can help bring prices down,” De Haan added.
He said to budget for an expensive price. Wegman’s advice is to let your supplier know your situation.
“Just be honest. If you’re struggling I want to help,” Wegman said.
We reached out to National Grid to see how natural gas was impacted. In a statement a spokesperson wrote:
Natural gas supply prices are set by the marketplace. Through the first three months of the winter 2022-23 heating season, our supply prices have been lower than our forecast but higher than winter 2021-22. This is the result of less demand and usage due to milder weather in the northeast. That said, our forecasts are for the five months of October through March, and there is still plenty of winter ahead of us. There is still plenty of time customers to explore affordability programs like the Home Energy Assistance Program and National Grid’s Energy Affordability Programs, and our two new programs – Hope & Warmth Energy Fund and Hearts Fighting Hunger emergency food assistance – which help families who are experiencing financial hardships, but just miss qualifying for HEAP. Customers experiencing difficulty managing their energy bills can contact a National Grid consumer advocate by calling 800-642-4272 or emailing ConsumerAdvocatesUNY@nationalgrid.com.