You can expect to pay more to heat your home this winter. The average utility bill is expected to jump anywhere from $50 to $100 dollars more this winter. One reason, why area agencies are encouraging people to take action or be left out in the cold later.
Winter heating requests are on the rise, months before the first major cold front hits. Local organizations and energy companies are encouraging everyone to find out now if they qualify for heating assistance programs.
Public affairs manager of Atmos Energy, Roy Urrutia expects the cost of gas to fluctuate before high prices set in. "Energy prices are high as a whole just look at your surroundings and the time is to start now looking at it before winter sets in," Urrutia said.
As prices change, concerns are growing over the number of people who will receive help the longer they wait. Salvation Army, Major Tim Grider said, "All those concerns the economy plus rates have gone up. It's been announced, it's been in the news. Atmos, Excel have reported it. Yikes what are we going to do".
Signing up for programs such as LIEAP, "Share the Warmth" through Atmos or budget help through Salvation Army are vital to the area. Officials say the earlier you apply the better.
"They need to start looking at their homes now and do it in advance because it's cold it will be busy and too late," Uruttia said.