Nfld. & Labrador

N.L. home heating costs are on the rise, and one homeowner says she feels left out in the cold

All fuel prices are on the rise this week, including gas which reached another record high.

N.L. gas prices hit another record high on Thursday

Newfoundland and Labrador consumers are feeling the pain at the pumps as gas prices continue to rise along with the cost of other fuels. (Ken Linton/CBC)

The cost of home heating oil on the island of Newfoundland has risen steadily every week since December, and data from the past decade shows a spike in cost this year.

In a media release, the Public Utilities Board said the price of furnace oil is rising 6.55 cents per litre on Thursday. That increase means home heating oil in the St. John's metro region now costs 1.2365 a litre. 

According to Balance Home Climate Solutions, most residential oil tanks hold about 750 litres. With Thursday's oil price a tank that size could cost about $927 to fill up, plus taxes and delivery fees.

Furnace oil costs even more in other parts of the island; for example, in parts of central Newfoundland furnace oil costs $1.2765 a litre, while on parts of the west coast it can cost $1.2455 a litre.

Tyra Dawe bought a home in St. John's with her brother in September 2020. She said the oil furnace came with a contract with a home heating company, and runs them about $700 to $800 a month in the winter for a 50 to 75 per cent refill.

Dawe and her brother both work full time low-wage jobs. She said the rising cost of oil has been difficult to keep up with, especially when factoring in other expenses.

"It's kind of like a tightening on a budget that … can't be tightened anymore," she said.

Dawe said other young potential home buyers are concerned about the rising cost of oil — and its impact on the environment.

"People are kind of looking for a reason to get out of fossil fuel if they can," she said.

Dawe said she'd like to convert to another form of heat, but the cost is prohibitive.

Data from the Public Utilities Board shows that home heating costs in the St. John's metro region and on parts of the west coast of Newfoundland for this time of year stayed below $0.90 per litre from 2015 until this year. Home heating fuel costs over 40 cents per litre more than it did on Thursday.

Gas prices still on the rise

Newfoundland and Labrador gas prices also hit a record high Thursday, rising 4.5 cents per litre. 

That means gas will now cost $1.729 cents per litre on the Avalon Peninsula, and even more in most other parts of the province. In central Newfoundland gas is now $1.754, while on parts of the west coast, including in Corner Brook, gas is $1.736 cents per litre.

Gas is less expensive in some parts of Labrador; for example, it's $1.596 in central Labrador, though it's $1.82 in Churchill Falls.

Dawe works from home, but said she feels the impact of gas prices whenever she has to drive to run errands or see friends and family.

"It's something that you have to think about," she said. "Can I afford to go out and put gas in my vehicle to do things or to go get groceries?"

The prices of other fuels are also on the rise this week, with diesel rising by up to 4.4 cents per litre, propane going up by 3.9 cents per litre and stove oil going up by 4.58 cents per litre on the island and 3.54 cents per litre in Labrador.

Tory finance critic Tony Wakeham said he wants to see government action on gas and home heating prices before the provincial budget this spring. (Peter Cowan/CBC)

PC MHA Tony Wakeham called on the government Wednesday to review the tax on gasoline and offer better home heating rebates. Wakeham noted the rising cost in heat, and said he'd like to see changes before the provincial budget this spring.

"That's a significant amount of money for someone on a fixed income," he said.

Dawe said people of different income levels and ages are seeing the impact of the rising cost of living.

"Inflation that we see with stuff like oil and gas and necessities such as that really impacts everyone." 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from William Ping