Energy Office Works in Off Season to Lower Mainers’ Heating Bills

June 9, 2014

Augusta, Maine – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) conducted its weekly heating fuel price survey on Monday, June 9, 2014, and found the current statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil was $3.51 per gallon, down three cents from earlier this month. The average statewide price for kerosene decreased two cents in the last two weeks, to $3.99 per gallon. Propane prices also continue their decline; the average statewide price for propane (for heating customers) is now $2.88 per gallon, a drop of five cents per gallon over the last two weeks. Last year at this time, heating oil averaged $3.38 per gallon; kerosene, $3.83, and propane, $2.61.

Since the conclusion of the winter heating season in March, the Governor’s Energy Office has focused on highlighting different ways Mainers can increase their heating efficiency and find ways to lower heating costs. Recently, Energy Office Director and Efficiency Maine Board member Patrick Woodcock continued the pursuit of this goal by proposing to dedicate an additional $2.4 million annually to help Mainers install energy efficient heat pumps. The board unanimously approved the initiative, which increases the amount of funding dedicated to assisting Mainers with their heating costs to $5.85 million.

Heat pumps, which can cut the costs of both heating and cooling, are one of the more popular components of Efficiency Maine’s Home Energy Savings Program (HESP). Since last September, Maine homeowners have utilized the program to purchase 1,817 heat pumps. According to Efficiency Maine, with the $500 rebate, heat pumps have an average payback period of 3.3 years, and can save Mainers around $900 a year on their heating bills.

The additional funding will allow Efficiency Maine to meet the increased demand from Maine homeowners wishing to reduce their winter heating bills. The money comes from reallocating funds previously used for rebates on compact florescent and LED lights. To find more information of Efficiency Maine’s Home Energy Savings Program, visit http://www.efficiencymaine.com/at-home/home-energy-savings-program/

Using this week’s average heating oil price ($3.51) and converting to a common heating unit value (million Btu), the price of fuel oil is $25.31. This compares with an equivalent heating unit value for natural gas of $14.73 (at $1.47/therm); propane, $31.53 (at $2.88/gallon); kerosene $29.56 (at $3.99/gallon); wood pellets, $14.67 (at $242/ton); cord wood, $11.36 (at $250/cord) and electricity, $43.96 (at 15 cents per kwh).

These fuel-only prices do not take into account the type of heating system, nor its efficiency. For example, the electricity cost is for traditional baseboard heat. Other electric heating technologies, such as heat pumps and electric thermal storage (ETS), may offer consumers energy savings. Cold climate heat pumps, a recent technological advancement, are much more efficient than baseboard electric heat, so total energy costs are lower than many other types of heating fuels. ETS offers savings by utilizing off-peak electric rates, available in many areas of the state.

The Energy Office has a calculator on its web site that allows consumers to obtain more detailed estimates of home heating costs, and the price impacts of various types of fuel, heating systems and heating appliances. Heating costs vary considerably from home to home. The home heating calculator can assist homeowners in finding the best heating option for their home, location, lifestyle, and budget http://www.maine.gov/energy/index.html

As of June 9, 2014


Heating Oil

Statewide

Southwest

Central

Eastern

Western

Northern

Average

3.51

3.47

3.54

3.54

3.47

3.63

High

3.82

3.82

3.70

3.69

3.60

3.70

Low

3.25

3.25

3.36

3.30

3.26

3.50

Kerosene

3.99

3.98

4.01

4.00

3.95

4.03

Propane

2.88

2.97

3.04

2.79

2.83

2.69

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. This week, within the Energy Office sample, the highest heating oil price ($3.82) was found in one region in the state, and the lowest heating oil price ($3.25) was recorded in 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 generally pay a higher per gallon price. The table above provides current Maine cash prices in dollars rounded to the nearest penny.

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For Immediate Release

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