SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — With colder temperatures continuing to approach Siouxland, residents may find their heating bills costing more this year.

The National Energy Assistance Directors Association expects heating costs to increase by 17.2% from 20.2%, but local energy companies said they’re hoping to keep costs down for Siouxlanders.

“I have seen a price hike, but it’s nothing compared to a lot of the other commodities, like the gasoline and diesel fuel. Propane is up roughly 70 cents from the previous year per gallon,” said Scott Vreeman, a sales representative at Meridian Liquid Partners.

“We expect that when all said and done throughout this winter heating season that you’re not going to be paying more for your energy bills than you did last year,” said Geoff Greenwood, media relations manager at MidAmerican Energy.

To help ensure a cheaper pricing for customers, both MidAmerican and some propane distributors bought natural gas and propane in large quantities at a lower price.

“Crude oil went from $30 a barrel up to like $85 a barrel right now. Some dealers bought when crude oil was $30 a barrel and some dealers didn’t buy it,” said Vreeman.

“We enter into long range, medium range, and short range contracts, advance purchase contracts, so when we see a good price for natural gasses, we jump on it on be behalf of our customers,” said Greenwood.

To help save money while staying warm, Siouxlanders can lower their thermostat during the night and when away from home to save electricity. Additionally, home-owners should have their furnaces professionally checked to make sure nothing is damaged.

“We see a variety of things really in the duct work, it’s the most common place where all of us might think, ‘Well that heat just circulates in the home, in the duct work,’ but there are really paths out of duct work whether it be small leaks and sometimes larger leaks,” said Steve Kistner, general manager at Kalins Indoor Comfort.

But for folks who may struggle to pay their heating bill, LIHEAP is available for low-income residents.

“It provides a portion of what you need to keep warm in the winter time and that has really made a difference for families. you’re able to buy the prescriptions you need, and the groceries you need, and pay your bills on time because you got this assistance to help you.” said Jean Logan, Executive Director for the Community Action Agency of Siouxland.

The LIHEAP program is available between November 1 and April 30, but applications are open now.