Natural gas prices on the rise with winter right around the corner

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- There is a good chance you have noticed increases in the prices of many day-to-day items and services. Now, with winter right around the corner, you can add heating prices to that list.

For example, natural gas rates for residential PECO customers went up, on average, $3.07 per month as of September 1.

Experts say there are several reasons why, but it boils down to basic economics, lower supplies and rising demand.

The result has been a 7.1 increase in the overall cost of natural gas over the past year.

But experts say there is a silver lining for Pennsylvanians who are struggling to make ends meet. State officials announced Monday the start of this year's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, better known as LIHEAP.

Money from the American Rescue Plan makes it possible to increase the amounts granted.

"This means that families will see an increase in the minimum LIHEAP cash grant from $200 to a minimum grant of $500 and an increase in the maximum cash grant from $1,000 to a maximum of $1,500," said Pennsylvania Acting Human Services Secretary Meg Snead.

Gladys Dutrieuille, chair of the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission, said there are similar services available for all utilities in every state across the country.

"Call your utilities now to learn about the options that are available," she said. "Don't wait for past due bills or termination notices before working to address these problems."

The LIHEAP application period has been extended for the season as well and is open from now until May 6, 2022.
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