Costs rise as temperatures plummet
Published Friday, January 25, 2013 6:56PM AST
News of a power hike for people in Nova Scotia comes at a time when many are spending extra just to stay warm.
This week’s extremely cold weather has everyone turning up the heat, making things even harder for people already struggling to pay the bills.
Sydney resident Simon Fougere has just paid for his latest deliver of home heating oil. It’s his fourth fill-up in the last two months, and he says this one seemed to come quicker than usual.
“You definitely do have to spend a few more dollars to stay warm in this weather,” says Fougere.
Temperatures are nearing -30 with wind chill and for people in the oil business, it creates a busy schedule.
“We’ve been run off our feet,” says oil deliver driver, David Jala. “There’s been no rest, the guys are out working. They get home and get a nice hot meal, some sleep and then get back at it the next day, ready for the onslaught of calls.”
For those pumping more money into keeping their homes warm, less is being spent on other necessities.
Ruth Martell volunteers at the Glace Bay Food Bank. She says for people already stretching every dollar, the cold is hitting especially hard.
“The little bit of money they have for food, they’ve been using it for heat,” says Martell. “That’s why we’ve been seeing more clients coming in here lately, that we don’t normally see.”
Nova Scotians who are heating their homes with oil or electricity will most likely see a noticeable spike on their next power bill. Nova Scotia Power is estimating a 10 per cent increase in demand during these past few days of low temperatures.
Jala says when he’s on the job, he sees people who are hardly able to pay for their heating bill, especially during the cold winter months,
“Especially seniors on fixed incomes,” says Jala. “When they have to dig down a bit deeper to put that extra little bit of furnace oil in, I’m sure it hurts.”
Ruth Martell’s food bank helps clients apply for heating assistance programs such as the Salvation Army, or the provincial government.
Martell says many have already used those options this year, before the extra-cold weather hit.
“Then we send them to the Kinsmen, Lions Club, Shriners, things like that,” explains Martell. “These groups have a program that can give them a one-time help in an emergency.”
More seasonal temperatures are expected next week.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald