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(NEW YORK) — Heating costs for the upcoming winter season are expected to increase by 17%, mainly impacting lower-income families, according to a new report from National Energy Assistance Directors Association.

Costs are expected to reach above $1,200 in 2022-2023, up from $1,025 in 2021-2022, a 10-year-high, NEADA data reports.

Lower-income families are at a higher risk of falling behind on their energy bills and choosing to pay for medicine, food and rent, NEADA Executive Director Mark Wolfe said in a press release.

Last week, in a letter, the association asked Congress for a supplemental increase of $5 billion in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program to cover the rising costs of heating homes, as well as cooling them because of frequent heat waves during the summer.

Parts of the U.S. saw heat indexes reach dangerous levels this summer, which saw temperatures hitting the triple digits in some cities and towns.

Sweltering summers have led to increased electricity use, resulting in lower levels of natural gas headed into the fall, Wolf told ABC News.

“We expected at the beginning of this year for prices to be going up because of the increased demand,” Wolf said, adding that the high demand, combined with the war in Ukraine, has amplified the issue. He noted that prices in Europe are higher than in the U.S.

The electric power sector uses natural gas to produce electricity. Last year, the industry accounted for 37% of total natural gas consumption in the U.S., according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

According to NEADA, this would be the second year homeowners have seen a significant price increase.

Home energy prices have gone up more than 35% between 2020-2021 and 2021-2023, according to the report.

The study found that the cumulative costs of heating homes could go from $127.9 billion in 2021-2022 to nearly $150 billion between 2022-2023, with the added expenses impacting low-income families the most.

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