As winter heating season begins, Black Hills Energy is urging customers to plan now for the impacts of higher natural gas prices. Just as commodity prices are rising globally on many items ranging from the bacon in our breakfast to the cotton in our clothes, the same is true for the increase in market prices for the energy used to warm our homes during the coldest months of the year.
Black Hills Energy estimates that Iowa residential natural gas customers should plan for an increase of approximately 60% for the cost of natural gas compared to last winter, based on analysis of typical winter weather, market conditions and current natural gas price forecasts. This increase accounts for the natural gas price, not the entire bill. Actual monthly costs will depend on customer usage.
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.
Customer bills in Iowa will continue to include a portion of costs related to February’s extreme cold weather event as ordered by the Iowa Utilities Board. The current charge is $0.18123 per therm based on monthly usage. These costs will be spread out over a multi-year period to reduce the impact on customers.
Customers who may need help paying their monthly bill can also reach out to Black Hills Energy to connect with a local energy assistance partner agency.
Black Hills Energy customers can consider options like Budget Billing, a payment plan that averages the amount owed each month. This budget option supports customers looking to avoid the seasonal variances in bills by averaging out their usage over a 12-month period. The company also encourages simple, yet effective energy conservation and efficiency tips to help customers prevent energy waste and keep their expenses down throughout the heating season.
Additional payment options may be available to customers during the winter moratorium law. Customers who qualify for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or Weatherization Assistance Program are protected from the annual shutoff of natural gas and electric service from November 1 to April 1.
Black Hills Energy is committed to providing the safe, reliable energy that communities need to thrive and is closely monitoring the current and forecasted price and supply of natural gas. For updates on how Black Hills Energy is ready to respond to increased natural gas prices and for more tips on saving energy, visit www.blackhillsenergy.com/winter-ready.