SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Recent energy bills this winter have some local residents close to reaching their breaking points.

“It is really overwhelming because everything is really extremely expensive right now even rent, and food,” said Glenys Richardson of Amherst.

Utility companies have cited multiple reasons for the rate increase this year; between fluctuating natural gas prices and inconsistent weather.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources is projecting that this winter heating season would be 63% higher for heating oil, 57% for electric heating, 28% higher for homes heating with natural gas, and 10% for propane.

22News spoke with some local customers to find out how they’re coping with the rising costs.

“It’s hard in the winter to have the energy bills where they are,” said Janet Lynch of West Springfield. She told 22News she does everything she can to keep costs down. But after extremely cold temperatures recently hit the Northeast, she’s worried about what she might see in the next bill.

“I was concerned about the pipes breaking and if my house was warm enough and it was almost too warm! So “tick! tick! tick! Goes the energy,” Janet said.

As people prepare for next month’s bill, both Eversource and National Grid say they offer assistance programs to bring some relief for their customers dealing with these high costs.

If you are a Springfield resident, the city is currently working to move forward with a community choice energy plan that may help you select lower energy rates.