The recent drop in temperatures may have been enough to turn off the AC. But don't get used to the relief on your energy bill. It won't be too long before your heating costs add up too. Heating and cooling a home doesn't come cheap. Chris Rettig, a local homeowner knows this all too well. “This is not a very efficient house. It takes a lot to heat. Its very drafty, it costs a lot of money.” And just like most things today, it is only going to cost more. Progress Energy is proposing an 11.5% price hike. According to a company spokesman, that boils down to an increase around 12 dollars a month for the average household. For those making renovations, the rising cost of energy is a priority. Tatyna Shelley is renovating her house. She said,”We have very efficient insulation and very efficient widows and appliances so all of those things will reduce our demands on energy. It will be easier to cool it and heat it.” There is a federal program called the low income energy assistance program helping other folks compensate for rising energy costs. The applicants who are accepted get a check to help cover heating costs. “Over the past few years, we have seen more individuals applying on a statewide basis as well as in New Hanover County.” said Sam Lane, the DSS (Department of Social Services) assistant director. The average payment last year was around fifty dollars and that payment went out to 4,100 households. That number is expected to go up this winter. The Progress Energy price increase still has to be approved by the state utilities commission. DSS will begin taking applications for the energy assistance program November 3rd.
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