MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As the warm weather winds down, your heating bill may go up. Natural gas prices increased by 80% since last September. In Minnesota, two out of three households heat with natural gas.
The Bruglers moved into a larger home in Forest Lake last year, and expected a higher natural gas bill to heat the home.READ MORE: 'Best Small Cities In America': 2 Minnesota Communities Make The Top 50 List
“We’ve never had the high ceilings and that much space,” John Brugler said.
But they didn’t expect less than a year later, prices would go up so dramatically.
“Anticipating a large jump, it’s gonna be a big bill,” Brugler said.
CenterPoint Energy reports natural gas last September was 60 cents per therm. This month, it’s $1.09. And CenterPoint says it’s caused by a few factors, but primarily supply and demand. Supply was up during the pandemic, while demand was down. And now that natural gas is again in demand, supply is still catching up.
“I certainly understand supply and demand, but when it hits you in your own pocket, it becomes more real,” Brugler said.READ MORE: Semi Driver Dean Johnson Killed In I-94 Crash In St. Michael, State Patrol Says
Brugler says they will make changes where they can.
“When we’re at work, we do leave the house a little cooler than when we’re at home,” Brugler said.
In older homes especially, the advice is also to have your furnace inspected, change the filter regularly to increase efficiency, and prevent air leaks around windows and doors. The adjustments can add up.
“Any time you spend more money it’s certainly going to affect your budget, but I think we’ll be OK. But, I guess, a couple less dinners out a month I guess,” Brugler said.
CenterPoint and Xcel Energy customers can also reach out to what’s called the Home Energy Squad. They provide low-cost, or free, home energy audits.
And there’s a Cold Weather Rule. A customer who thinks financial hardship may prevent them from paying their winter heating bills can sign up for a payment plan to prevent service from being disconnected. It starts 15 days earlier this year, on Oct. 1.MORE NEWS: Minnesota Weather: Widespread Rainfall Before Temperatures Drop
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