RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- When the temperature drops, the thermostats go up and for some North Carolinians so does the price they pay to heat their home. Emma Spry turned her heat on last month and already noticed changes. "Anywhere from $10 to 15 maybe."
But it could be more. The U.S. Energy Information Administration is forecasting the second-largest annual increase in heating costs in years.
"I feel like over the last few months my electricity bill has been going up and currently I assume due to inflation in general," said Essam Laskar.
And that's led Laskar and his wife to look for more ways to cut down the costs of their heating bill. The Department of Energy suggests turning down your thermostat to as low as you're comfortable.
"As for heating, we usually have the temperature of the house a little bit at 74 and then we kind of let it cool down and I guess that kind of plays a part in saving," continued Laskar.
Even with all the cost-cutting measures in place, some North Carolinians still struggle with paying their heating bills. A recent LendingTree survey found nearly 16% of households in North Carolina couldn't pay at least one of their energy bills in the last year.
Another 33% skipped out on medicine or food to afford their energy bill.
Households of color were greatly impacted. The survey showed 40% of black households are most likely to report not being able to pay a part of their energy bill compared to 17% of white households.
There is help available for people who are struggling to pay their heating bills.
The North Carolina Low Income Energy Assistance Program is now accepting applications. It's a federally funded program that provides a one-time payment to help with heating bills.