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News stories tagged with "heating"

Story 2.0: CITGO to suspend free fuel to Akwesasne?

A piece of news yesterday brings us the next installment of our new series, "Story 2.0". We're revisiting stories from the North Country Public Radio archive to see what's happened since. CITGO, the U.S. branch of the national oil company of Venezuela, is stopping shipments of free heating oil for poor families in America's cities. That word came yesterday from the non-profit organization that distributes the fuel. CITGO also donates free heating oil to native tribes, including the Akwesasne Mohawks. The company has given away $1.5 million in heating oil to Mohawk families. David Sommerstein was there in 2006 when CITGO began the program, sparking some geopolitical controversy.  Go to full article

Few winners, lots of losers in home heating oil market

The cost of home heating oil has confounded everyone this year. History dictates that prices follow demand: they drop in the summer and go up when it gets cold - and people need fuel to heat their homes. But this year, the cost per gallon peaked in mid-July. According to NYSERDA, the price of heating oil is at its lowest point of the year right now. This is good news for last-minute fuel buyers, but it's another financial mess for people who locked in a payment plan or bought all their oil over the summer. Keith Wells of Saranac Lake bought hundreds of gallons of fuel in July at $4.49 a gallon. Last week, the average price in the North Country fell to $2.83. Speaking with Brian Mann, Wells says he buys heating oil in bulk every summer. This is the first year, he says, when this strategy backfired - and cost him dearly.  Go to full article

Fluctuating fuel market hurts oil sellers

Since August, people who buy heating oil for their homes have seen the price go in only one direction - down. That's not the case for fuel sellers. They get oil on the wholesale market where prices can shoot up one minute and drop off sharply the next. Jonathan Brown talked with one seller who says this fluctuation is making a tough business much harder.  Go to full article

Woodcutters struggle to keep up with soaring demand for firewood

As people across the Northeast look toward winter - and the volatile price of heating oil - demand for wood is through the roof. Woodcutters are struggling to keep up. Ken Stone's been cutting and stacking firewood for 25 years. He tells Jonathan Brown that he's never had a year like this.  Go to full article
Tom Lee surveys the switchgrass plots he planted this spring.
Tom Lee surveys the switchgrass plots he planted this spring.

Grass pellets: growing the North Country's own energy

The price of oil has been going down lately, but people are still worried about heating their homes this winter. The skyrocketing prices of oil and natural gas are fueling a run on pellet stoves. A winter's heat from pellet stoves can cost half of that from an oil furnace. Dealers across the North Country report they can't keep up with demand. The pellets themselves are made from wood scraps at factories across North America. But alternative energy and agricultural leaders believe high prices are hastening the day when pellets are made from grass. And they hope that grass will be grown right here in the North Country. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
Steve Kuno faces a volatile oil market this winter.
Steve Kuno faces a volatile oil market this winter.

A "fuel jobber" in the middle of high prices

Snow is still just a rumor in the North Country. But the rising cost of heat isn't. Oil and natural gas prices could be double what they were last year. Homeowners are bracing for a budget-stretching winter. So are the people who deliver the oil. Most are small business owners caught in the middle between global oil traders and anxious customers. David Sommerstein profiles one oilman in St. Lawrence County.  Go to full article
Jane "Granny" Bashaw, Katie Cariffe, and Lee Ann Pierce fear this winter's high heating costs.
Jane "Granny" Bashaw, Katie Cariffe, and Lee Ann Pierce fear this winter's high heating costs.

North Country prepares for winter heating crisis

It's still plenty hot outside, but North Country residents are already bracing for the cold. Heating oil prices have almost doubled. Kerosene and natural gas are way up, too. People are scared. Local officials fear a season-long crisis, with people have to choose between eating and staying warm. Many communities are taking unprecedented steps to get prepared. David Sommerstein has the first of two reports.  Go to full article

Congress readies for high heating costs

Local, state and national leaders are trying to prepare for a coming storm of high heating costs this winter. Heating oil and natural gas are projected to rise from 20 to 40% over last year. Officials fear many people will have to choose between keeping warm and buying food or medicine. Later this week, we'll hear how local officials are preparing for what they say is a coming crisis. And we'll profile the owner of a local heating oil delivery company, caught between the high cost of oil and their customers' busted budgets. Today, we look at the situation in Washington. Congressman John McHugh supports two measures to provide assistance: more than doubling the amount of money available in the Heating Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and offering a tax credit to people who spend a lot on heat this winter. McHugh spoke with David Sommerstein.  Go to full article

Potsdam leaders consider 'long emergency'

The cold seems a long way away, but across the North Country, communities are already planning ahead for the impact of high heating bills this winter. The cost of heating oil, natural gas, and kerosene could force many people to choose between food or medicine, and warmth. In Potsdam, a group of civic leaders wants to prepare for the winter, too. But they're also looking far beyond. If energy prices continue to rise, how will that change what we eat, where we live, work, and play? Will we be able to heat our schools and churches all winter? How will police and emergency responders have to change? Potsdam police chief John Kaplan, Clarkson University professor Bill Vitek, and others are convening a meeting on August 20th. They've invited a broad range of community leaders, representing government, emergency responders, the hospital, educators, churches, and fuel providers. Vitek specializes in sustainability and energy issues. He told David Sommerstein the idea is to get people to think about what author Jim Kuntsler calls "the long emergency".  Go to full article
Outdoor wood furnace in operation. Source: Washington State Dept. of Ecology
Outdoor wood furnace in operation. Source: Washington State Dept. of Ecology

Outdoor furnaces taking the heat

Winter seems a long way off. But with the price of home heating oil and natural gas expected to continue to soar, North Country residents are already scrambling for cheaper ways to stay warm. Outdoor wood furnaces are an increasingly popular alternative because they can burn most any kind of wood. But tonight in Jefferson County, the village of Sackets Harbor may join a growing number of communities to restrict or ban them. As David Sommerstein reports, the smoke from outdoor furnaces can bother neighbors and pose a risk to human health and the environment.  Go to full article

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