"It’s a very, very high bill.”
Shirlee Thurston's latest heating oil bill is a frightening prospect only weeks before Halloween and the arrival of the winter months.
"Close to like $550, $560 on top of everything, yeah," she explained.
Oil prices are on the rise. This week, a gallon of home heating oil in Massachusetts sold on average for $5.71 a gallon. Last year at this time, it was $3.30 a gallon - that’s a 73% increase.
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"Millions of Massachusetts families right now are living in fear of their next home heating bill because of projected price this winter," Congresswoman Lori Trahan, D, 3rd District, said.
Trahan and others are asking for the release of Northeast oil reserves to help bring down prices for middle-class families.
Oil’s not the only worry. Heating costs for natural gas are up 29%. For electricity, costs are up more than 50%.
"I do think we have to work with urgency to drive down costs," Trahan said.
Massachusetts is getting $37 million from Washington for home heating assistance programs like the one administered by Action for Boston Community Development. Sharon Scott-Chandler is ABCD’s CEO.
"We are very concerned that people will not be able to heat their homes. That they won’t be able to get oil deliveries," she said.
With five kids at home, Thurston has been working with ABCD for at least a decade. And this year, she needs it more than ever now that her oil bills have doubled.
"Everything went up, every single thing from groceries to oil, everything is inflated right," she said.
There are programs out there like ABCD’s if you need help.
For information on state assistance programs, click here.