Expect incremental fuel increases for winter heating

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With colder temperatures moving in, more people are turning up the thermostat in the house.

But what can you expect to pay on your monthly heating bill this winter?

This week, we are facing colder temperatures earlier in the season. If the colder-than-normal trend continues, heating bills will increase slightly but should not look much different than last year - and that goes for both gas and electric.

Nationwide, the average increase for natural gas is about 13 percent. But central Indiana benefits from our central geography. Companies have a huge supply of gas from pipelines running through the state, and that keeps delivery costs down. The cost of electricity is also relatively low. We should only see an increase in both of about two percent over last year.

"Over the five month winter heating season," said Dan Considine of Citizens Energy Group, "customers would see their total bill increase maybe about nine dollars, so roughly about the same as it was last winter."

"In the past four years, we've actually seen natural gas bills here in Indianapolis decline about 30 percent," said Considine. "And that's because there's been a dramatic increase in natural gas production here in the United States."

Beware if you are using a heat source other than traditional gas or electric heat.

It is recommended that you also have your furnace inspected once a year in the name of safety, and also efficiency.