With all the freezing cold weather in recent weeks, the cost of home heating has jumped, but for those using propane the burden is becoming overwhelming.

Allan and Marie Russell heat their Thames Centre home and run several appliances using propane.

Comparing invoices from last winter to this winter, it's clear the cost to fill their tanks has skyrocketed

"It's just so frustrating," Allan says. "Our costs have gone from average either side of $200 lets say per month as they fill our tank to over $500 dollars."

Of courst the extremely cold weather has made the situation even more costly.

"Three weeks later we had to fill our tanks again for a little over $500 so for a three-week time frame we have been charged a little over $1,000 for propane," Allan says.

The Russell family moved into their country home six years ago and have put in a lot of time and money to turn it into their dream home, but this winter the dream has become a nightmare.

"This is just phenomenal," Allan adds. "It's going to be very difficult to pay it actually, it really is."

Area MPP Jeff Yurek has taken notice of the situation and sent a letter to Ontario's premier about the rising costs of propane, which is affecting many homeowners and farmers in his riding.

"It has spiked so high that people are fearful that they aren't going to be able to heat their houses or keep their businesses in operation, and it's time our government looks at how our energy policy is as a whole throughout the province."

Propane prices to fill the Russells' tank has gone from around 55 cents a litre to close to $1.20 a litre.

The price jump has been attributed to a shortage of fuel.

Yurek explains "The fact that we had a wet corn season, to dry the corn, followed by one of the harshest winters we have seen, and there wasn't proper supply held back for the farmers and residents througout our area."

Allan and Marie are now looking into the cost of coverting their home to natural gas and have spoken to two natural gas companies

"What we are being overcharged on the propane would probably pay for the cost of the gas line coming into our house," says Allan.

Until then they will continue to turn down the thermostat and hope for warmer weather soon.