Well I thought I lived in an expensive area. Looks like according to Energy Department the most expensive area to heat a house is Boston. I guess I was right. Here's an article discussing heating costs.
Yes the northeast is not colder than Minneapolis or Buffalo. However, the cost of heating using natural gas or oil is substantially higher in the northeast. So though people in New Englad use less energy to heat their homes, their bills look disproportionately larger.
Another factor is that in New England people heat using inefficient oil. But it's very expensive to update a house and install a natural gas system. I'm fortunate in that I have a natural gas furnance and just installed a gas fireplace insert. Unfortunately I still live in an area where it costs 40 cents more a therm for natural gas heating than Minneapolis.
Hence why I complain about my $200/month electric bills for 650 KwH a month. Yet when comapred to other people who use 2000 KwH and pay $200 as well. So I'm using a lot less electricity for a the same amount of money. And why I try to buy the most energy efficient solutions because in the long term they will pay off for me.
We leave our house at 60 when not home and usually 65 when home. This year we can finally heat the bottom floor to 65! Before we left it at 50 because that's what the furnance in the ATTIC would get it too! It would struggle to push heat down 3 stories.
Right now DH is tracking our heat pumps, new fireplace, and regular furnance. We have some baseline readings but we've only done about 2 weeks. We really need the cold weather to kick in and a longer period, maybe a month before we make a determination. I'll post when we figure out our efficiency more.