Energy Office Urges Mainers to Prepare for Extremely Cold Temperatures

January 15, 2013

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO), advises all Maine citizens to prepare for bitterly cold temperatures later this week.

“With dangerously cold temperatures forecasted for this weekend, it is critical to take precautions now to avoid emergency heating situations,” urges Energy Office director Patrick Woodcock. “Now is the time to check your fuel tank to determine that there is an adequate supply and schedule a fuel delivery if you may be low. In addition, this week is a prudent time to check on elderly neighbors and relatives to ensure they are prepared for the coming cold temperatures.”

And that fuel delivery will continue to be expensive. On Tuesday, January 15, 2013, the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil is $3.71 per gallon, up two cents since last week’s price survey. The average prices for propane ($2.72) and kerosene ($4.14) held steady, each increasing only one cent from last week.

In last month’s short term energy outlook, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that seasonably cold temperatures, combined with very high heating fuel prices, could translate into historically high fuel bills this season. However, this month’s outlook has slightly better news: the EIA projects a decrease in heating fuel prices, although slight, for all of 2013 U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Possible factors for the projected decline in price may be due to the increase in domestic production, as well as expanded pipeline capacity http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2013-01-14/oil-in-n-y-fluctuates-on-seaway-euro.html . This year, crude oil production in the US is expected to be higher than any year since 1988.

Using this week’s average heating oil price ($3.71) and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is at $26.75. This compares with an equivalent heating unit value for natural gas of $17.00 (at $1.70/therm); propane, $29.78 (at $2.72/gallon); wood pellets, $14.48 (at $239/ton); cord wood, $10.50 (at $210/cord) and electricity, $43.96 (at 15 cents per kwh). The electricity cost is for traditional baseboard heat. Electric heat pumps, a recent technological advancement, are much more efficient, so total energy costs are lower than oil, kerosene, or propane.

The GEO has a calculator on its web site that allows consumers to estimate home heating costs and price impacts of various energy sources. See http://www.maine.gov/energy/index.html

As of January 15, 2013


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.71

3.65

3.72

3.76

3.63

3.85

High

4.30

3.80

3.95

4.30

3.80

3.85

Low

3.50

3.52

3.60

3.53

3.50

3.83

Kerosene

4.14

4.12

4.21

4.11

4.09

4.25

  Propane

2.72

 

 

 

 

 

It is important to note that the price for heating oil is a statewide average, and that prices in a given geographic region of the state may be considerably higher or lower than this average. Within the Energy Office sample, the lowest actual heating oil price of $3.50 per gallon was recorded in only one region of the state. The highest price of $4.30 per gallon was also reported in only one region. Also, the statewide average price for propane is based on a use of at least 900 gallons a year. Households using propane just for cooking or hot water may pay a higher per gallon price. The table above provides current Maine cash prices in dollars rounded to the nearest penny.

Efficiency Maine links Maine homeowners and businesses with qualified, certified contractors who provide access to energy improvement options. For program details call 866-376-2463 or visit www.efficiencymaine.com.

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For Immediate Release

Contact:
Lisa Smith
(207) 624-7445
lisa.j.smith@maine.gov