Be prepared to pay more to heat your home this winter.

A spokesman for National Grid told the Albany Times Union, the increase is not due to a rate hike. It actually has to do with how much the company predicted it would cost to deliver gas last year. During the 2016 heating season, which goes from November 1 to March 31, National Grid forecast 3% too low, so this winter they are raising the delivery charge by 3%.

According to the company, the average customer is expected to use over 700 therms (therms are a unit of heating energy) of gas during the 5 month heating period, which is about 6% more than last year.

National Grid says the reason for the rising cost of utility bills is blames on the cost of gas, not electricity. The spokesperson for the utility company says they have no control over the cost of gas, it's determined by the market.

If your utility bills are getting out of control and you need help paying, the government offers assistance through the federally funded program called HEAP or Home Energy Assistance Program. The program is designed to assist low to middle income families meet the costs of home energy. To apply for HEAP, you may visit your local Social Services office...

  • In Utica, located at 800 Park Avenue
  • In Rome, 300 West Dominick Street

They also accept HEAP applications electronically through their website mybenefits.ny.gov/mybenefits/begin.

HEAP is currently closed, but should be opening in the next few weeks for the 2017-2018 season.

BONUS VIDEO