Weekly Poll: Propane Shortages and Rising Home Heating Costs

natural gas,Natural gas prices,delivery rates,heating bills,home heating,generating electricity,gas delivery rates,natural gas customers,natural gas bills,higher-than-expected utility bills,natural gas spikes,electricity demand,home heating bills,cold weatherOn the 21st of December 2013, Kingston and the surrounding region endured a severe ice storm, which lasted in excess of 72 hours.  The results remain visible in various parts of the city, particularly in parks where large tree limbs still litter the ground.  Few Kingstonians were spared from the aftermath of #ygkice, which closed businesses, made roads and sidewalks impassable, as well as blacked out parts of the Limestone City for days.  On the particularly icy morning of December 22nd, our household awoke without power, however our tootsies were ultimately saved by our glorious natural gas fireplace.  Days like that make me particularly thankful that we don’t rely on electricity to heat our home, or fuel our stove top.  We can somewhat weather the worst winter storm!  This sentiment became stronger by the hour, as pockets of the city continued to deal with outages, which were not resolved until well after Boxing Day.

Reports also surfaced of an apparent propane shortage, which left rural Kingstonians and customers throughout Eastern Ontario in dangerously cold territory.  Kingston and the Islands’ MP, Ted Hsu, recently acknowledged the severity of the propane shortage in a statement released last week:

I have been concerned about the propane shortage resulting in many of my constituents and many other Canadians being unable to heat their homes during this cold winter season.

Accordingly, Hsu has announced that he will support a motion presented by the Liberal Party’s Natural Resources critic, Geoff Regan, which asks that the Standing Committee on Natural Resources undertake a study to determine the cause and develop strategies to mitigate propane shortages in Eastern Ontario and elsewhere in Canada.  Not to sound pessimistic, but I’m not holding my breath on any significant revelations or changes.

Furthermore, while I doubt that strong opposition to such a motion exists, I believe that a more pertinent issue stems from the high cost of heating homes during the winter months.  With the recent drop in temperatures across the region, everyone has been using more energy, and resources have been stretched thin.  Depending on how you heat your home, a $20 to $40 increase on your next utility bill is not out of the question, however for many, such an increase is not in the budget.  Aside from hoping for the early arrival of spring, there really isn’t any relief in sight as experts predict that the cost of heating our homes could realistically increase by 2.5% annually over the next 10 years.  Accordingly, this week’s poll asks:

Are you concerned about rising home heating costs?

  • Yes. Bills are already too high. (73%, 87 Votes)
  • Yes. Future increases have me worried. (25%, 30 Votes)
  • No. (3%, 3 Votes)
  • Something else entirely. (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 120

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As a follow on to this week’s poll question, I’m curious as to whether or not you prepared to pay even more to heat your house over the next decade?  Furthermore, what role do you think government should play in helping to reduce the impact on consumers and businesses when it comes to heating?  Finally, what strategies do you employ to help keep the cost of heating your home within your budget?  Drop off your comments below.

Special thanks to MTSOfan for the image associated with today’s post.

Comments

  1. colin says

    my propane cost from November 28 th to January 19 th has risen from 0.64 l to 0.98 l an increase of over 53% between fill ups. WHY? Another thing why is there hst/gst on home heating fuel ? Isn't the cost mostly tax anyway ?

  2. hogster says

    My fill up Dec 17/2013 was 72 cents a litre. My next fill up ( Jan 14/2014 ) 28 days later, was 95 cents ( 32 % increase ). If I had to fill up today Jan 20/14 it would be $1.01
    You cant tell me, that all of the suppliers in this area are not using this so – called shortage as a way to gouge customers.
    When will this incompetent government of ours, step in and stop the raiding of honest tax payers pockets

  3. Steve says

    I would say heat with electricity, but that is going up 42% over the next 5 years. Maybe the propane companies are just going to stay at par with hydro so we have no choice. Time will tell.

  4. William Edgar says

    What is a person to do about the cost of our propane / electricity & gasoline ???
    I just got off the phone with my supplier of propane in Peterborough , and she says she cant deliver to me , I heat my shop
    with it . If I cant work I can't pay my bills ( ON THE $ 1,050 PER MONTH GOVERNMENT PENSION I GET ) When will this LUNACY stop . Who was the MORON that said it was OK for the energy board and ontario power generation to gouge us with the price of something WE NEED ( NOT WANT ) ?? Do any of these people know the value of a dollar ? Have they EVER WORKED for a living and had to pay bills like most working people do ??

  5. Gail Taylor says

    I find it interesting that most news agencies including the CBC do not consider this to news worthy. I am sitting here with 3 additional sweaters worrying about how I am going to pay for a propane bill of 677.00 including 88.00 in tax which is more than half of the money I have coming in for a month. I will have to choose not to eat this month and there are thousands out there just like me and that is not news worthy. What did I do to deserve this. I worked all my life, I paid my taxes so that in my declining years I can go hungry or be cold or some combination of both. It hardly seems fair.

  6. TiredofTaxAbuse says

    My Propane Cost was $0.599 at the end of October. It is $1.17 now in January.
    What the hell is any level of government doing about this???
    If the price of ANYTHING affecting URBAN residents doubled in three months you would have EVERY level of government losing their minds to resolve the issue!
    The Ontario Liberal Crooks won't do anything since they need all the tax-rape proceeds they can get to stave off Ontario's Liberal caused bankruptcy!

  7. Ida says

    how do you decide which to use: a propane fired boiler or an electric fired boiler for radiant floor? Propane at $1.17 a litre vs. a 42% increase in hydro. does this mean they COST THE SAME? help. I need to know before I install a heating system in my house.

  8. Tom says

    Welcome to the Global Market, you buy cheap products from China, they use a lot of YOUR energy, you pay the difference in energy costs. In other words no free lunch. If you want to keep shooting yourself in the foot keep buying products from China.
    What you save on products you pay in other ways. BUY PRODUCTS MADE IN NORTH AMERICA!

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