Just in time for winter, Vermont Gas has announced a drop in rates that will benefit all customers.
"This is a real opportunity for people to be able to cut their costs again because it's 44 percent less than fuel oil, 54 percent less than propane," said Steve Wark with Vermont Gas.
The rate reduction kicked in November 1st and will result in a 6-percent decrease in heating bills for residents and business owners. "In Chittenden and Franklin County we have 45,000 customers and residential customers represent about 88-percent of the meters," Wark said.
This is the 16th rate reduction Vermont Gas has passed on to customers since 2008 thanks to the growing abundance of natural gas in North America.
"I have it at home, I have three furnaces that I have to run at work," said Eric Provost, co-owner of Twisted Wrench Auto Repair. He says he has been a customer for 17 years. "It's gonna save me a lot of money and I think it will also do that anywhere -- it's just cheaper, it's that simple," he said.
But when it comes to staying warm during the cold months, most Vermonters don't have access to natural gas and rely on oil or propane. And those people are paying a lot more. When you compare fuels by the amount of energy they produce, natural gas costs $19.31 per a million BTUs. Fuel oil can run upwards of $33.43. And Propane costs more than $41 per million BTUs. "And if you're using electricity to produce heat your as high as $40, or even $41 or $42 for a million BTUs," said Jake Marin, an Efficiency Vermont Energy Consultant.
Another option some Vermonters have turned to is heat pump technology, a system that pulls energy from the air or ground and turns it into heat. "These systems are so efficient that you can actually get a million BTUs worth of heat energy for only $12 or $13 so, comparable to natural gas," Marin said.
The costs associated with heating a home are cheaper for residents who choose wood or pellets -- between $14 and $19 dollars per heating unit. But experts say no matter what kind of fuel you are burning, you can cut your costs by property insulating your home and keeping that heat inside.
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