Furnace oil prices hit 6-year low in New Brunswick

Collapsing world petroleum prices and the gentle pace of natural gas regulation are helping New Brunswickers with furnaces in their homes enjoy the cheapest winter heating season they've had in several years.

Natural gas and propane prices have also dropped compared to last year

Oil prices are the lowest they've been since 2009 and that is making a big difference to some people who rely on furnace oil to heat their homes. (CBC)

Collapsing world petroleum prices and the gentle pace of natural gas regulation are helping New Brunswickers with furnaces in their homes enjoy the cheapest winter heating season they've had in several years.

Furnace oil prices sunk to a six-year low in New Brunswick on Thursday, good news for Frank Vanderlaan, 83, of Hatfield Point, who is expecting an oil delivery any day.

"It makes a big difference for me of course," said Vanderlaan, who lives in a 99-year-old home.

"I paid $3,355 [for oil] in 2014."

The current maximum price for oil in New Brunswick is 73.2 cents per litre, plus HST — the lowest its been since October 2009 and 40 cents less than the average price Vanderlaan was charged in 2014.

It's enough to save him about $200 on every fill up.

Enbridge wants rate increase

Furnace oil is now well below the cost of electric baseboard heat in New Brunswick, but it's not the only fuel to take a dip for homeowners this winter.

Propane prices in the province are down nearly 60 cents per litre from record levels in January 2014, while natural gas and distribution prices charged by Enbridge are 18 per cent cheaper than they were last January.

Enbridge has applied for a rate increase, but left the request too late to take effect this winter. The application needs to be approved by the Energy and Utilities Board and a hearing isn't scheduled until April, with a final decision unlikely until next summer.

Vanderlaan says he had been pondering whether to install a heat pump to cut costs, but now is uncertain.

About the Author

Robert Jones

Reporter

Robert Jones has been a reporter and producer with CBC New Brunswick since 1990. His investigative reports on petroleum pricing in New Brunswick won several regional and national awards and led to the adoption of price regulation in 2006.

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