MidAmerican Energy warns its QCA customers that higher natural gas priceswill impact most heating bills this winter.
Natural gas market prices are doubling from this time last year because of increased global demand, coupled with limited production and inventory. Costs for MidAmerican to purchase the natural gas it supplies have steeply risen, as will be evident on heating bills.
“We’re not seeing signs of supply challenges this winter, but we do expect to see higher customer bills because of higher commodity prices,” Peggi Allenback, MidAmerican vice president of market operations and supply, said. “We don’t mark up what we pay for natural gas; rather, the cost of the commodity is a straight pass-through to customers. We purchase a portion of gas in advance at the best possible price, and in warmer months, when gas is generally cheaper, we store it for use in winter to help protect our customers financially.” Allenback said despite these efforts, natural gas bills will still be higher this heating season.
MidAmerican Energy offered these steps to help reduce energy use and save on monthly bills:
- By setting your thermostat as low as is comfortable, you’ll save money. Set it even cooler while you’re sleeping. You can also save with a programmable thermostat that automatically adjusts the indoor temperature when you’re away or sleeping.
- Have your furnace serviced once a year to ensure it’s working safely and efficiently. Clean or replace filters once a month or as recommended by the manufacturer.
- The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your water heater to 120 degrees, which is not enough to cause scalding but is still hot enough to keep diseases at bay and is considered relatively energy efficient.
- Locate and seal any leaks from your air ducts and use weather stripping to help seal leaky windows and doors.
- Consider whether you need to add or replace your home’s insulation. Insulation reduces energy demand in both the winter and summer.
- According to the U.S. Department of Energy, closing your curtains at night during the winter can help reduce heat loss in a room up to 10%. During the day, open your south-facing curtains and shades to take advantage of the sunshine.
MidAmerican said its Iowa customers who may qualify can apply for aid from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. Customers in Illinois can apply for similar assistance through state-administered aid programs. MidAmerican sponsors its own residential bill payment assistance program, called I CARE, which is managed by community agencies throughout service areas.
Actual bill impacts will vary by customer due to usage and market prices for natural gas. The heating season runs from November through March. For more information, click here.