WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- The U.S. Energy Information Administration said heating bills are expected to rise 3 percent this year over last year, depending somewhat on Mother Nature.
In the South, heating bills from October through March could drop, as winter is expected to be milder than last year in southern states, the agency said in a statement.
In the Northeast, don't forget your overcoat. "Expected colder weather than last winter … will also contribute to more fuel use," the EIA predicted.
EIA Administrator Richard Newell said to expect "the average household spending $986 October through March … an increase of $24 from last winter."
EIA said heating bills for homes that use primarily natural gas for heat -- about 52 percent of the nation's homes -- could see energy prices over the course of the winter rise $27 or 4 percent. Homes relying on electric heat could cost $18 or 2 percent less to heat this winter. Those relying on heating oil -- 12 percent of the nation's homes -- would have a far higher sticker shock to confront. Heating oil prices over the course of winter were expected to rise about $220 this winter, an increase of 12 percent.
That price was also expected to vary region to region. Heating oil prices were expected to rise 13 percent in the Northeast, where 80 percent of the heating oil consumption takes place, EIA said.