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Cold Wave Spikes Energy Use; Huge Bills on the Way

By Joshua Resnek

As if you didn’t know!

The continuing cold wave covering the nation and affecting us in the Northeast appears to be intensifying rather than relenting and with it comes higher energy bills destined to haunt most Everett energy buyers heating their homes and apartments with gas and oil for many months to come.

Throw out the monthly payment plan or fuel budget intended to keep all of us above the water to our energy suppliers because no monthly payment plan can make up for the spike in use of our heating systems, whether powered by natural gas or heating oil, due to this crushing and continuing cold wave.

By the time this Herald Leader hits the stands, it will have been almost nine days of

The frigid temperatures have frozen the earth rock solid and made our lives that much harder during a winter cold wave that seems to have no end. The smoke stacks of Everett’s major energy suppliers located along the edge of the icy cold Mystic River poured out steam like active volcanoes near to noon Tuesday. It is the coldest week we can recall in the past ten years…and now snow is on the way.

sustained below freezing cold, with the great majority of the days in the teens or below, and with at least a half dozen days in the single digits or below zero!

“In this kind of weather, your heating system never shuts off. Most homes have heating equipment designed to raise the interior temperature to 70 degrees when its zero. When its that cold, your burner just doesn’t shut off. It just keeps running,” said Paul Arsenault, a retired area oil distributor.

“At these temperatures your consumption of fuel is about double what it would be during a more temperate period of the winter,” he said.

“It is really expensive. There is no way to conserve.”

Oil is more expensive than natural gas and is right now retailing at $2.70-$2.85 a gallon.

If you are using home heating oil right now during this cold wave and you live in a modestly sized apartment or home and you order 200 gallons for $538.00 you might get about 10-20 days out of the fill-up.

Thermostats go down to 55 degrees. But at 55 degrees during a cold wave such as that we are now experiencing, your heating system remains on.

“You’d still be using a lot of oil to keep it at 55 degrees,” Arsenault added.

At 55 degrees, most residents would be near to freezing.

Wind accelerates cold air penetration of drafty windows and doors and adds to consumption woes being exacerbated by the treacherous temperatures we are experiencing.

There is virtually no way out for consumers locked into burning oil or natural gas.

Everett’s Mario’s Oil Company, Atlas Glen-Mor, a large supplier to Everett residences, JJ Holmes and Sons of Everett, Boston Fuels of Everett, and Howie’s of Chelsea all reported being “straight out” with no heat calls, empty tank calls and malfunctioning burners and heating systems.

According to the United States Weather Service, the cold wave will be lasting into the weekend and maybe beyond.

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