The recent cold snap means higher heating bills in your mailbox - and more strains on relief agencies swamped with calls for help.
"Our consumption has been extremely high for the last two or three weeks," said Jim Heckle, general manager of York County Natural Gas.
"This December was about the coldest we've had in years. That put a big strain on most heating budgets."
Eighty to 85 percent of York County households heat their homes with natural gas, Heckle estimated.
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As demand peaked during the recent cold spell, several industrial customers switched to alternative fuels for three days or so, Heckle said. No residential customers were affected.
Customers can sign up for a fixed-pay plan which divides the cost of natural gas over 12 months. .
Still, many have flocked to the PATH assistance center in western York County, where a recorded phone message sums up the situation.
"Our crowds are heavy at present," the message says. "So we are taking appointments and issuing them to those who walk in. You really do need to be here by 9 a.m., no later."
After mild temperatures in October and November, York Electric Cooperative customers' upcoming bills will reflect a "substantial increase" in power usage, said vice president Marc Howie.
"We will continue to work with our customers when possible," Howie said.
Duke Energy said its Carolina customers have set a record for winter power use and should expect to see higher electricity bills this month.
At the Salvation Army chapter on Charlotte Avenue, the daily schedule usually fills up in 15 minutes as people await appointments with aid counselors, said Lt. Kenny Igleheart.
More than 1,800 households in York County received help last year from the Salvation Army with rent, mortgage, food and utilities.
"We've been maxed out for a year and a half," Igleheart said. "My appointment schedule stays booked. I can't see any more people with my current staffing levels."
For the week of Dec. 16, natural gas consumption was 6.6 percent higher nationwide than a year ago, according to federal government data.
The good news: Natural gas prices have been falling since the recession as the economic slowdown resulted in lower energy demand.
McClatchy Newspapers contributed to this report.