Higher heating costs making some reconsider turning heat on early

The first cold snap of the season might have many itching to turn on their heat early, but rising heating prices predicted for this winter have some second-guessing that decision.

Depending on what is used to heat a specific home, those looking to stay warm this winter may see a spike in prices as high as 20 percent.

The sudden cold temperatures in the middle of October have some looking to turn on their heat, and has Scott MacFarlane, owner of MacFarlane Energy, managing workers on a tight schedule.

"On Monday, we had 125 service calls," MacFarlane said. "In the past two days, we had about 100 calls per day, and we managed to get them all done."

MacFarlane, whose family has owned the business for all of its 50 years, said people have been placing orders for fill-ups since last week, preparing for the winter-like weather.

"Oil delivery wise starts to pick up when we get the cold weather," MacFarlane said.

This year, home heating costs are expected to rise nationwide, with electricity set to spike three percent, natural gas heating up to five percent and oil heat expected to jump 20 percent.

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MacFarlane said those numbers are true for Massachusetts.

"If you locked the price in last year at the lower prices, yes, the price will be 20 percent higher than it was this year," MacFarlane said.

But, MacFarlane said he expects the price to lower in the coming months.

"The price of oil will be up a little higher this year than last year," MacFarlane said. "But, come December, we could be exactly the same as last year or down a little bit."

For those that refuse to just add layers, MacFarlane recommends finding a trusted company who can give great year-round rates.

"I think your best bet is go with a company you trust, and trust them," MacFarlane said. "They will take care of you."

MacFarlane said if anyone has a quarter left in their tank from last year, they'll be safe for the next couple weeks.