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Heating costs climbing as winter approaches

You might be starting to feel it, winter is knocking at the door. Some are already shivering at the rising cost to heat their homes.

LLEWELLYN, Pa. — Autumn is fading fast, and the temperatures are falling as fast as the leaves. People are turning up the heat in their homes, meaning local oil companies are out making some of the first deliveries of the season.

"November is always our pickup month where things start to pick up; we get a little busier," said Amy Purcell, President of Robert E. Reedy & Sons in Llewellyn.

Purcell said orders are getting more expensive as heating oil prices soar.

"Last year, with the price of oil dropping so significantly during Covid, people could fill their tanks up," Purcell said. "They pre-bought oil at a low price of $1.79, where today it's $2.99. So it's a significant difference in every way."

Those price hikes are affecting more than just heating oil. One local official said natural gas, propane, and electrical costs are all on the rise.

Kevin Steele, president of the Burke Schuylkill Oil Heat Association, said some residents could be paying more than double to heat their homes. He told Newswatch 16 there's no supply shortage, instead pointing to the policy at the federal level as the reason for the surge.

For now, Purcell is making adjustments for customers' on limited budgets.

"We'll try to accommodate them with minimum deliveries, 125 gallons at a time, so they don't have to put all that money out to fill their tank up if they don't need to," Purcell said.

But there are ways residents can get help paying for heat.

"There are some programs out there; the LIHEAP program is a big one. A lot of people aren't aware of it or aware of all the components of it. There are actually two components of that program," Purcell said. "We try to guide everybody so they can at least get assistance in that form if they qualify."

For more information on state assistance programs, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services website.

RELATED: DPW crews in Lackawanna County prepare for winter season

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