WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Temperatures may be falling, but natural gas prices are heating up. It comes after last winter proved to be a tough one.
During an extreme cold snap in February, the cost of getting natural gas rose nearly 200 times normal prices. The impact to Kansas was about $1 billion, and regulators are still sorting out if those spikes broke the law.
More price hikes may be on the horizon.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports natural gas storage supplies are nearly 17% lower than last year because hurricanes in the gulf slowed production.
It can impact the prices we see here in Kansas. Kansas Gas Service public relations manager Dawn Tripp said production, demand, storage volumes, and weather impact the cost of gas.
While she said the group tries to secure the lowest price, it can be difficult to predict.
“We have seen increases in the price of natural gas, and according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, they’re citing lower than normal national storage levels, as well as lower production levels,” Tripp said.
Tripp suggests a few ways to avoid blasting the heater. First, she said to inspect your heating and cooling equipment each year to make sure it’s working right and to be sure to replace your air filters.
Other ways to avoid a big bill:
- Close off rooms you don’t use to prevent unnecessary heating
- Put your water heater to warm or 120 degrees Fahrenheit
- Apply weather stripping or caulk to seal gaps and cracks to prevent energy loss
“This is the perfect time to get ready for the winter because when temperatures are lower, we tend to see more energy consumption, so now is the time to prepare,” Tripp said.
Kansas Gas Service also has a payment plan that takes a 12-month rolling average.
It helps reduce the gas bill fluctuations that come with the changing weather. Tripp said it makes budgeting easier.
A federally funded program offers assistance with utility bills. To learn about or apply for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP), click here.