The extreme cold this winter is bringing some unwanted news to utility customers in the Midwest and Northeast -- higher heating bills.
As many in Missouri and Illinois have already seen, propane rates have skyrocketed in the past few weeks. Gas and electric rates aren't changing, but utility company's say customers should still expect to see higher bills starting this month.
A jump in demand because of the brutal winter weather is to blame, according to utility providers. Demand for natural gas reportedly hit an all-time high during the first week in January.
The situation isn't expected to improve any time soon, as forecasters are calling for more cold weather over the next few weeks.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The bitter cold weather settling over much of the Midwest and Northeast is unpleasant for most, but life-threatening for some who are willing to do almost anything — even dangerous things — to stay warm.
The U.S. Fire Administration says more than 50,000 residential fires annually are caused by heating, resulting in about 150 deaths. January is the peak month.
People who can't afford to heat their homes, or homeless people huddled in warehouses and abandoned buildings, often take desperate measures to survive. They heat homes with space heaters or huddle around open stoves, or even use candles or kerosene heaters.
Already this winter, several Missouri fires have occurred in buildings where alternative heat sources were used.