Cold Snap Caused Spike In Heating Costs

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- You probably remember how cold it was a few weeks ago, as we left 2017 and entered the new year.

Now, many people are starting to get shockingly high utility bills--and it's raising some new worries.

Eversource spokesperson Mike Durand told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker the company has been hearing from some customers about the size of their latest electric bill, and says the cold snap--and higher supplier rates that started January 1--contributed to the spike.

But, he says, there are some options for those having sticker shock.

"We do have payment plans," he said. "We have budget payment for customers who qualify based on state guidelines. We have discounted electricity rates."

At Action For Boston Community Development, which helps with fuel assistance, Energy Director Kathy Tobin said they're getting more requests for help.

"We have seen a spike in those who have never applied before," she said. "People are starting to receive their gas heating and electric heating bills, and they're shocked. It's like sticker shock because some of them are almost doubling."

The problem, Tobin says, is that there isn't enough funding to sustain people during the two or three months left in winter.

"Where is February? What's going to happen then?" she asked. "That is historically the coldest period of time, and that's where we usually get our storm."

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker reports

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