As cold continues, heating bills pile up - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

As cold continues, heating bills pile up

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LENOIR, NC (WBTV) -

"Everybody's running out of oil!" That's what John Wayne Cassidy of Bumgarner Oil Company in Lenoir said on Thursday.

"I've been in this business for 14 years and I've never seen it like this," Bumgarner said.

Cassidy says the continue frigid blast is taking its toll on homeowners and businesses alike.

People are using oil at a higher rate than in recent years and with another frigid blast coming in overnight Thursday, Cassidy expects usage to continue to pile up.

Fuel oil has not fluctuated too much in price this winter, at $3.58 on Thursday. Kerosene has jumped to almost $4 a gallon and could go higher he says. His drivers have been extremely busy trying to fill tanks.

Driver Harold Helton said he is working and fast as he safely can and people need to be patient. One issue is that ten years ago, when heating fuel was much cheaper, people filled up their tanks at the beginning of the year and sometimes had a second fill up.

Now, says Cassidy, people are only getting 150 gallons or so and calling for a delivery 3 and 4 times, sometimes 5 times in a season. That means more delivery trips per customer, increasing the company's costs and making it harder to service all the people who are calling. 

Reva Spann got only 100 gallons of kerosene delivered Thursday because it's hard to pay for it. "I'm a widow woman on social security," she said. She hopes the latest delivery will carry her through the next cold spell and maybe until Spring.

Officials say demand across the country is up because of the cold weather this winter and for the moment, there doesn't seem to be an end in sight to the frequent cold fronts that are sweeping across the nation.

Another one is expected next week.

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