HOUSTON - Households can expect heating bills to jump as much as 54% this winter, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Nearly half of U.S. homes use natural gas for heat and could pay an average of $746 this winter, 30% more than a year ago.
Electricity is the second most used source, which could be up 6% to $1268.
Homes using heating oil could go up 43% to $1,734.
Propane is expected to be up 47% to an average of $2,012 for the winter.
University of Houston professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Dr. Ramanan Krishnamoorti says drilling for natural gas and oil was reduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, but demand is now rising and we export a lot.
"Because of the vigorous winter we had, we decided to draw down on our storage of natural gas so effectively through the summer we used a lot to produce electricity. To make sure we keep getting peak electricity when we needed it, we never replenished the storage," explained Dr. Krishnamoorti.
He does not expect prices to come back down until next summer, but there's new help available.
Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia announced $149.5 million is now available to help Texas families with winter heating costs.
It's funded through the Department of Health and Human Services and the American Rescue Plan.
The money will help pay utility bills and pay for energy repairs.
It's in addition to the $134 million given to Texas families in May for summer cooling bills.
Families should contact the Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs at 1-866-454-8387 or visit their website.