Freezing weather to multiply the cost of heating our homes

The upcoming freezing weather will lead to a massive increase in household energy bills.

Families will be forced to keep the heating on longer than usual as the country is forecast to have sub-zero temperatures this week.

This could cause a typical home’s heating bill to increase by about 240 percent to $120 to cover the cost of just a week of cold weather.

Last week, milder weather meant a typical family spent just €35 to heat their home, figures from’s Daragh Cassidy show.

An arctic air mass over Ireland will drop temperatures to -4C and bring icy roads and pavements, snow, sleet and hail.

The extreme weather comes as families are already being hit by record energy prices.

The cost has more than doubled in the last 18 months, when there were about 60 separate rate hike announcements from electricity and gas utilities.

Residential heating oil prices are more than 50 percent higher than this time last year, and logs and other solid fuels have also skyrocketed in price.

“Given the near-record warm October and November that we’ve had, many homes have probably only had their heating on for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening,” Cassidy said.

“But with temperatures set to drop well below freezing for at least the next week, households are likely to want to keep their heating on for much longer – maybe six or seven hours a day.”

As a result, households could expect their weekly heating costs to increase by around 70 to 90 euros.

This goes from €35 per week to around €105-€120, which is similar for those with oil boilers.

A two-week cold snap, which some longer-term forecasts indicate, would mean additional costs of up to 180 euros.

But those with electric panels or electric storage heaters could face even higher costs, since electricity is currently about three times more expensive than gas, Cassidy said.

He pointed out that he had to make a number of assumptions to arrive at the numbers.

The cold spell will put even more pressure on families grappling with inflation rates last seen in the 1980s.

Calculations by economist Austin Hughes show that the cost-of-living crisis is expected to set the average family back another €3,000 a year as energy, fuel and food costs rise and mortgage rates rise.

Earlier this week, a survey by the Central Statistics Office found about 80 percent of people said they’ve experienced a drop in disposable income over the past 12 months.

It also showed that 64 percent expect their situation to get worse in the coming year.

The higher cost of groceries alone means that families have to spend an extra 40 euros a week in shops.

Met Éireann issued a winter weather advisory for the whole country this week as an arctic air mass hit.

It warned: “There will be hail, sleet and snow showers in the second half of the week. Updates with possible warnings will be released in the coming days.” Freezing weather to multiply the cost of heating our homes

Fry Electronics Team

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