MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some of you may have noticed that your gas bill is cheaper, and it’s not just because you’re using less gas to heat your home.

Centerpoint Energy says the price of natural gas is the lowest it’s been in 14 years.

“Prices are down. I’m not exactly sure why, but I’m happy,” said homeowner Mike Block.

At Block’s house in Maple Grove, prices aren’t just down- his gas bill is nearly $50 less this month than it was a year ago. Block is just one of thousands of people that’s noticed the welcome change.

Homeowners in many parts of the country are expected to pay as much as 15 percent less for natural gas over the course of this winter. Weather has played a major role in this, but so has supply.

Jim Hagen is a marketing professor at Hamline University.

“It’s sort of similar to if we got a tax rebate,” he said.

Hagen said October, November and December temperatures have been mild, so demand for natural gas has dropped, and subsequently so have prices.

“We’re not just having to use gas like we normally would,” he said. “We just aren’t having to heat as much.”

But it’s not just the weather. There’s plenty of natural gas in storage, and production is way up.

“We have more production going on with fracking and other technologies. Easier to produce the stuff,” said Hagen.

And the number of days Americans will need to heat their homes this winter, is expected to fall by 10 percent. Mike Block already knows what he’s doing with heating bill boost he received this month.

“Taking advantage of Christmas, making everyone happy, and driving the economy a little bit,” said Block.

John Lauritsen

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