Rising natural gas prices likely to cause higher heating bills

As the temperature continues to drop, your heating bill certainly won't.
(Source: KLKN)

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Black Hills Energy is urging customers to plan ahead for a rise in their heating bills this winter.

“We want customers to be prepared now for those higher bills that are going to come with more gas usage and higher prices,” Brandy Johnson, the Community Affairs Manager of Black Hills Energy said.

Just like a lot of commodities right now, the price of natural gas is much higher than we have seen in recent years and it’s the largest component of your bill.

Black Hills Energy says natural gas customers should plan for a potential 58% increase in the cost of natural gas on their bills compared to last winter depending on weather and other factors in the market.

“Natural gas prices were at historic lows for many, many years and now they’re rising back up to a level we haven’t seen in quite some time and so we just want customers to be mindful while natural gas is still a tremendous value for the energy, it’s more expensive we have seen in recent years,” Johnson said.

It comes down to a simple supply and demand issue and where those intersect is what’s driving up that price.

“We saw a lot more demand for natural gas this summer as it was used for more generation and we saw less supply because of issues with hurricanes taking production off so that meant there was less natural gas going into storage which we typically rely on in the winter season to help us level out that cost,” Johnson said.

The cost of natural gas is a pass-through cost, meaning Black Hills Energy does not make money on natural gas, even when prices increase.

Your actual monthly bill will depend on how much you use.

Black Hills Energy says this is the time to plan your budget, turn your thermostat down to 68 degrees and be very mindful of how you’re using energy at these higher prices.

They recommend grabbing an extra blanket or throwing on a pair of fuzzy socks before turning the dial-up.

“Keep an eye on how much hot water you’re using. And maybe your natural gas fireplace, it’s nice and it provides some cozy comfort this time of year, but it’s not the best for heating your home so know that your home is going to be heated more efficiently with a high-efficiency gas furnace,” Johnson said.

It really is going to depend on the weather, if we have a mild winter, your bills might not go up as much as they’re predicting.

For anyone who is struggling to pay their bills, especially with a price jump, there is help available. Black Hills Energy partners with the Salvation Army through their heat share program. CLICK HERE.

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