SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Springfield’s City Utilities is expecting the price for natural gas to be twice as much this year, compared to last year.
Joel Alexander with City Utilities says the average customer pays about $90 per month in natural gas usage. This year, that number is expected to jump to $175 a month.
”The price we pay for natural gas is exactly what customers pay for natural gas so it’s dollar for dollar,” said Alexander.
The market price of natural gas at this time last year was $2.25 per million BTU. The current market price is at $5.50 BTU.
Alexander says natural gas is at a price he hasn’t seen in over a decade.
“The national market that’s exporting the natural gas, the supply shortage on that and just the market price volatility is really creating this demand issue that we’re having right now,” Alexander says.
Alexander says now is the time to take steps to try to reduce that cost.
Some tips to prepare your home includes things like lowering your water heater to 125 degrees and using the cold water setting on your washing machine.
“Find ways to seal up those drafts and windy spots,” Alexander says. “Seal up those rooms that might have a draft in them.”
Springfield homeowner, Douglas Wheeler, says his family originally decided to use natural gas because it was the cheapest option. However, now he’s concerned about his bills because his family is on a fixed income.
“When the price of natural gas goes up and we have to pay more for it, then we have to look at other areas where we have to cut back,” Wheeler says.
If you install a smart thermostat, City Utilities will give you a $75 rebate. However, if you have a regular thermostat, even just changing it by a few degrees can make a big impact on your wallet.
“Don’t make it just miserable, uncomfortable, but if you can lower it, that’s gonna save you about two to three percent for every degree below that normal 68 degrees that we recommend during this time of year,” Alexander says.
If you add insulation to your home, City Utilities is offering a 50% cash back rebate up to $500.
Alexander says using space heaters can actually be more expensive than using natural gas.
That’s why Wheeler says it’s important to have a properly working, and newer furnace.
“Newer furnaces are more fuel efficient and certainly your dollars will go a little bit further and still get the heat that you need,” Wheeler says.
City Utilities offers something called “Level Pay.” It allows you to spread out the cost over a year. That means you pay the same amount each month based on your bills during the last 12 months.
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