El Nino Bringing Sweet Energy Cost Relief for U.S. Homeowners

Old Man Winter is the last person home owners expect to bring them a Christmas present, but this winter could actually bring sweet heating cost relief to U.S. households.

Homeowners should send thank you cards to El Nino.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates most American households can expect lower heating expenditures this winter (October through March) compared with the past two winters. In most areas, the decline in costs is related to the mix of warmer temperatures coming from El Nino and lower fuel prices.

For example, in the Midwest U.S., the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is projecting temperatures to run 11 percent warmer than winter 2014-15.

The EIA’s Winter Fuels Outlook projects average home household spending for homes heating primarily with natural gas will run $578 this winter – a $64 decline from last winter’s average. Homes primarily using propane are expected to run expenditures of $1,437 ($322 less than winter 2014-15). Homes using heating oils are pegged to spend $1,392 (a whopping $459 less) and homes fueled by electric heat are projected to spend $930 ($30 below last winter).

Almost half of American homes use natural gas as their primary heating fuel. The EIA expects natural gas spending to be $64 (or 10 percent) less than last year.

Fuel expenditures for each household are highly reliant on the size and energy efficiency of individual homes and their heating equipment, thermostat settings, local weather conditions and market size.

Homeowners can increase their home energy savings further a put a firm cap on their home’s heating costs this winter by practicing smart energy safety measures.

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