This winter, Americans may face the highest energy prices in more than 10 years, according to a new National Energy Assistance Directors Association report.
The increase will fall hardest on lower-income families at risk of falling behind on their heating bills. These families will be forced to “make difficult decisions between paying for food, medicine and rent,” according to Mark Wolfe, executive director of NEADA.
“We expected at the beginning of this year for prices to be going up because of the increased demand,” Wolfe told ABC News, noting that the Ukraine conflict has Russia-Ukraine conflict has affected supply and demand.
In a letter sent to Congress, NEADA asked for an additional $5 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to address higher home heating and cooling costs. The letter noted that the average home heating price increased last winter from $888 to $1,025.
“Based on current market prices, the cost of home heating next winter could go on average as high as $1,152,” the letter said.
NEADA said home heating costs were expected to jump to $150 billion from $128 billion last winter.
According to the report, the cost of home energy has increased by more than 35% since 2020.
Some utilities are already sending notices to customers ahead of price hikes.