As temps dip in NH, so do oil-heat costs
Today's weather forecast calls for high temperatures in the 20s in southern New Hampshire. With wind gusts up to 45 mph, some areas will experience near-zero wind chills.
Oil customers can expect to pay 2 percent less to heat their homes this winter, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported in its annual "Winter Fuels Outlook." According to the state's Office of Energy Planning (OEP), the average price per gallon for home heating oil in New Hampshire last week was $3.63 per gallon. A year ago, it was $3.92.
"It's good news," said John Rider, chairman of the Oil Heat Council of New Hampshire and a principal owner of Dead River Oil Co.'s North Haverhill location.
Of course, forecasts can be wrong. As always, any disruption in output by big oil-producing countries could create a spike in prices.
"I think if you talk to three different agencies or analysts, you'll probably get three different stories - and even those will vary depending on the day," said Rider. "There are so many variables that can come into play and affect pricing that it's almost impossible to predict where they are going to be a few weeks from now. Now that being said, the most recent forecast I saw had prices staying fairly steady, where they are now, which is a good thing."
Prices in New Hampshire are comparable to those in other New England states. In Massachusetts, average regional prices were steadier, ranging from $3.41 per gallon to $3.51. In Maine, average regional prices range from $3.30 in southern Maine to $3.63 in the Downeast Maine region.
The state's Fuel Assistance Program is federally funded and administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, but the assistance is provided through local community action agencies. The state provided assistance to 36,805 households last winter and expects to see at least the same number of requests this year, said Celeste Lovett, the program's director in New Hampshire. "We're getting requests from people who have never been on the program before," she said.
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