The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 3, 2012

Shikellamy saves 20% on heating bills

By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item

— SUNBURY — A streak of mild weather means savings on heating bills, and for one Valley school district, this fall has been so warm that it has saved the system nearly 20 percent in spending over 2011.

But it actually has been colder, AccuWeather meteorologist Brian Edwards said.

“That is surprising to hear,” he said. “It has actually been three degrees below average this fall.”

In 2011, Edwards said fall weather was much warmer, and during November alone, it was four degrees warmer.

This year, things have been much different.

“I know this little warm spell is good news, but it will cool down again and go back to average temperatures to below average by the end of the week,” Edwards said. “So to hear that big buildings are actually saving money is very surprising.”

Heating bills for the Shikellamy School District up until December in 2011 totaled $27,043, compared to $22,129 so far this year, business manager Dave Sinopoli said.

“It tells us it is warmer this year, but I guess not,” he said.

Edwards said temperatures reached 63 degrees Monday and will even be warmer today, which is rare for early December.

“It is really unseasonably warm,” he said. “This will help somewhat with cutting some costs to people paying heating bills, but it won’t last.”

Costs for home heating oil are slightly up from 2011, said Arden Steiner, general manager of Affordable Fuels, Middleburg.

The average price this fall is $3.57 a gallon depending on where people buy their oil, but the 2011 figure was $3.45, he said.

“We had a cold spell early, so I have seen a slight increase in people using more oil this year, but nothing drastic,” Steiner said. “The warmer weather will slow that down, but I have not seen anything out of the ordinary.”

Until the real cold weather hits the Valley, Edwards said people should enjoy the warmer air.

“It will come soon enough,” he said. “We don’t see any major snow in the long-range forecast, but we do see a cold January and February, and that will bring the heat bill back up.”