BOSTON (WWLP) – The seasons are changing and along with that comes the cooler weather and the concern for home heating costs. Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin says the state legislature should consider creating a home heating oil reserve for middle and low-income residents before the winter heating season begins.

The U.S. Census Bureau accounts for more than a quarter of homes in Massachusetts being heated by oil and the cost of heating your home is likely to skyrocket this year. According to the Massachusetts Association for Community Action, 160,000 Massachusetts households utilize assistance from fuel programs yearly.

Secretary Bill Galvin on Thursday laid out a plan to help middle and low-income residents, “The problem is is we’re coming at a pivotal time, we don’t know what the weather is going to bring to us, we don’t know the actual cost of home heating oil is going to be, we need to be doing something about it now. We’ve already seen the sharp change in the weather in just a couple of days. So when the calendar changes, the weather changes too.”

He is calling on the legislature to set aside a reserve up to $50 million before the winter heating season begins. The fund would be put in the hands of the treasurer, and the reserve fund could be used by the state to purchase its own supply of oil, or to offer guarantees to Massachusetts fuel wholesalers and financial assistance to those in need.

Galvin also pointed to the transition coming to the Governor’s office in January as a reason for planning for this potential crisis now. It’s believed that home heating prices are up 66% over the same time last year.