La Crosse homeowners can expect heating bills to rise by 23%

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — This winter, home heating bills may be painful.

According to Xcel Energy, Coulee Region homeowners can expect bills to rise by 23%.

“Typically call the winter heating season the months of November through March,” Xcel Energy representative Chris Ouellette, said. “You’re looking at probably about $200 more a month this year than last year.”

Ouellette says energy costs have risen to the highest prices in 14 years because there is more demand for natural gas.

“The United States just hasn’t been able to keep up with that production so really is more of a supply demand issue,” Ouellette said.

As the cost of living also increases, more people are applying for energy assistance.

“Every year we see an increase or we see the same amount for applications that come in,” Energy Assistance Coordinator for La Crosse County, Kristi Matz, said.

La Crosse County offers assistance to low income homeowners through its Home Energy + program.

“How many people are in the home, how many rooms, your usage, and your income as well.”

Matz says homeowners who qualify can get a one time payment of up to $600 made directly to their heat or electric company. If you already received one, you’ll have to wait to reapply next season.

“You could apply once a year and you would get that one-time benefit and that’s what it would be,” Matz said.

Matz says La Crosse County will accept applications until May 15.

“It is a rising cost with our energy costs. So, it’s good to kind of reach out for help. Anybody should,” she said.

If you don’t qualify for county help, Ouellete suggests you reach out directly to your energy company.

“We will work them very closely to make sure they’re put in touch with the right resources that would be available to help them out,” Ouellete said.