This Cold House
Sticker shock on your heating bills this winter may be the incentive you need to make your home more energy efficient. Or, you may need some extra help paying those higher bills. This Cold House takes a closer look at why heating costs are going up, and what you can do about it.

Talk about cold!

How are you handling the cold?
Your response to a few brief questions will help shape our coverage of energy issues — and you'll be included in the MPR News Public Insight Network.

Share your heating horror story
Join a discussion about astronomical bills or personal circumstances that resulted in very low or no heat.

Links and resources

Document A list of utilities, regulators and consumer agencies
Document What do you have to spend to save money?
Document Ten ways to reduce your energy bill


Online Editor: Melanie Sommer
Art Director: Ben Tesch

Test your energy smarts
What are the cheapest ways
to cut down on your heating
bill? Think you know how to pinch
enough pennies to make a real difference? Take our quiz and find out.

Take our survey
Are you concerned about higher heating bills? Take our online survey.
See the results.

Go to story Document Natural gas prices will push up heating costs this winter

Minnesotans who use natural gas to heat their homes will see 40 to 50 percent increases in heating costs this winter. Bills could be even higher with a colder than normal season.

Go to story Document Hedging your bet on high heating costs

Some utilities offer so-called "fixed rate plans," where you can lock in your natural gas rates. It may be a tempting offer, but most experts say you'll probably pay more for the peace of mind.

Go to story Document One woman's struggle to pay for heat

Many Minnesotans will need to adjust their budgets to pay for higher heating costs this winter. For those with no flexibility in their budget, heating assistance money is the only thing keeping them from financial ruin.

Go to story Document High energy costs squeeze school budgets

Higher heating costs could mean cooler classrooms and tighter budgets for many Minnesota schools. Public schools got a big boost in state funding, but rising natural gas prices might force school leaders to spend thousands of dollars they hadn't planned on.

Go to story Document Rising heating prices spur a surge in solar projects

Rising energy prices have ignited more interest in alternative forms of energy, including solar thermal power.

Go to story Document Firewood sales heating up

The soaring cost of home heating has some home owners falling back on an old standby. Firewood is hot.

Go to story Document Beating the high cost of energy -- with corn

In the wake of spiking energy costs, corn has been redefined as a fossil fuel alternative -- not just as a source for making ethanol, but as a fuel for furnaces.