08.01.06

Schumer: New Survey Shows NYC Residents Will Pay Over $1.2 Billion More To Heat Their Homes This Winter Senator Demands Tapping Heating Oil Reserve To Bring Down Costs

With Natural Gas Prices Projected to Go Up 40% and Home Heating Oil Prices Projected To Go Up 32%, Average NYC Resident Can Expect to Pay $466 More Than Last YearSenator Announces New Push to Tap Heat Oil Reserve, Expand Heating Assistance Programs, and Increase Weatherization Grants to Prepare for Cold WinterSenator Stands with New Yorkers whos Heating Costs have gone up Since Last Year

In light of a $1.2 billion projected increase in New York City home heating costs this winter, today U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer called on the Administration to tap the government's emergency heating oil stockpile as soon as possible to help bring down high heating fuel prices. The 2 million barrels in the Northeast Heating Oil Reserve would give consumers in the region supplies for about 10 days, the time needed for ships to carry heating fuel from Gulf of Mexico refiners to New York Harbor. Several weeks ago, the Department of Energy threshold for releasing fuel from the stockpile was met, but the Administration declined to tap the reserve.

With energy prices out of control, we have to help people pay for soaring heating costs this winter, Schumer said. More people then ever are likely to qualify for LIHEAP assistance, and we need to make sure the money will be there for them. If we secure these additional funds, hopefully everyone who needs help during this frigid winter will be able to receive assistance. Nobody should have to choose between putting food on the table and heating their homes.

The New York State Public Service Commission recently reported that gas prices will be 35%45% higher than last year, and that the average consumer in New York uses approximately 90,000 cubic ft of natural gas this winter. While last years the New York average for natural gas price between October and March was $13.15, this years could be $18.42.

According to the Energy Information Agency, Northeast consumers will use 641 gallons of home heating oil a year. This week, home heating prices in New York City were up to $2.78 from 2.29 a year ago. The Energy Information Administration projects home heating oil prices to rise 32% in the winter season, which means that they would be 71 cents over last winters average of $2.22 in New York City. There are over 1.6 million natural gas users in New York City and over 996,000 home heating oil users in NYC. Each New York City gas consumer could pay at least $1656 this year (up from $1183 last year) and the New York home heating oil user could pay $1878 (up from $1423 last year), the weighted average increase for the New York City consumer is $466 this winter.

Schumer today called on the President to tap the Northeast Heating Oil Reserve at the next possible opportunity. Under a complicated Energy Department formula, the heating oil reserve could have been tapped last week when wholesale heating oil and crude oil prices were at certain high levels. But the administration said there was no shortage of heating oil and refused to release any supplies from the stockpile. When Congress created the heating oil reserve in 2000, it said the president may release fuel from the stockpile if the difference between the price of Northeast heating oil and crude oil is increasing and is 60 percent greater than its fiveyear rolling average for that month for two consecutive weeks.

Several weeks ago, the difference in the price of Northeast heating oil and crude oil was $1.10 a gallon, or 62.5 percent of its fiveyear rolling average. The price trigger was hit when the difference rose to almost $1.12 a gallon, or 64.9 percent of the rolling average, based on the government's survey of retail heating oil prices.

Currently, the threshold for tapping the oil reserve is not met, but Schumer today said as soon as the formula is triggered, Bush should initiate a swap into the reserve to help lower energy bills for New Yorkers.

Schumer today also renewed a bipartisan push to add $3.1 billion to the Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) which helps eligible lowincome households meet their home heating needs. In 2003, 385,000 people in New York City received LIHEAP Assistance, but because of higher energy costs fewer families could receive funding this year. Currently, under the FY05 federal allocation for LIHEAP of $1.885 billion, New York is slated to receive $235.6 million. Under Schumers proposal for $3.1 billion, New Yorks share would increase to $309.1 million. These funds would help LIHEAP recipients cover the gap between their existing LIHEAP benefit and their projected high heating bills.

Schumer will also call for expanding the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) by $500 million, which reduces household energy use and costs by improving the energy efficiency of a participant's home. WAP has been proven to reduce heating bills by 31% and overall energy bills by $274 per year. Weatherization technologies address the whole spectrum of energyconsuming systems in lowincome homes including insulation, blower doors, air sealing, windows, heating, water heaters, air conditioning and warm climate weatherization measures, and electrical appliances and weatherization base load measures.



Previous Article Next Article