BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — With temperatures expected to feel below zero this weekend, utility companies around New England are reminding customers to place their orders for heating oil before the freezing conditions set in.
Foxborough-based Oilman, Inc. that services more than a dozen communities in southern Massachusetts tells WBZ NewsRadio that it has seen a high volume of calls in recent days following the week's forecast. According to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, the average retail price for home heating oil in the state is up this winter at $5.07 per gallon compared to last year's $3.63.
Heating companies are trying to get the word out ahead of the cold front over social media, reminding customers not to wait until after the frigid temps to fill up low tanks. Officials warn that if homeowners get cold feet they could be frozen out of service as delivery schedules stack up.
Demand is only one part of why oil prices have skyrocketed statewide, with other factors including the cost of crude oil changes, competition in local markets, and regional operating costs. Specifically for the New England, a spike in costs can also come from the delivery and transportation it takes to bring oil from sources in Europe or the Gulf Coast. according to the United States Energy Information Administration.
For those struggling to make the bills for heating, the state offers Home Energy Assistance Programs through Affordable Housing, which can help alleviate a portion of the winter heating costs for eligible households. Other state programs can offer system repairs and full-scale residential energy conservation services too.
AccuWeather forecasts for temperatures in the Greater Boston Area to be in the low teens and feeling like -5 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday.
WBZ's Chris Fama (@CFamaWBZ) reports.