LINCOLN, Neb. — Nov. 19, 2021 — 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 residential natural gas customers should plan for an increase of approximately 58% 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. Actual monthly costs will depend on customer usage and customers who live in communities that are eligible to participate in the Choice Gas program will need to contact their natural gas suppliers to determine any impacts from market price increases.
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 areas not eligible for the Choice Gas program also include a portion of costs related to February’s extreme cold weather event. On average, customers will see a monthly charge of approximately $0.17 per therm based on usage. These costs are 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 are also available to customers as part of the Nebraska Public Service Commission Cold Weather Rule program from Nov. 1 to April 1, 2022.
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.