WPS: Nationwide natural gas price spike will likely increase winter heating bills

For the Tomahawk Leader

WISCONSIN – Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) said on Monday, Oct. 11 that its customers’ heating bills will likely rise as temperatures fall due to a “nationwide spike in natural gas prices.”

“The price of natural gas has more than doubled this year and currently sits at the highest level in a decade,” WPS stated in a release. “This increase is mainly due to tight supplies as well as a worldwide increase in demand for natural gas.”

An analysis done by WPS predicts the typical residential customer will pay $40 more a month this winter compared to last year. The analysis assumes typical winter weather, WPS noted.

WPS said natural gas is “a pass-through expense,” and the company does not earn a profit on the gas it purchases for its customers.

The company said it uses a “proactive, multi-pronged approach to make sure customers have the reliable and affordable energy they need, while limiting the impact of sudden price changes.”

“The company buys and stores gas when it is typically lower priced, locks in guaranteed natural gas contracts at fixed prices and purchases gas in the market,” WPS stated. “This approach is estimated to lower this winter’s gas costs for WPS customers by 25%.”

WPS said it donated $4 million to the Keep Wisconsin Warm Fund this year “in order to help customers in the greatest need,” explaining that the program “provides direct financial assistance to help qualifying customers pay their utility bills.”

“Significant federal assistance is also available,” WPS stated. “Congress recently authorized $3.7 billion of federal funding to help low-income customers this winter.”

WPS customers can go to www.wisconsinpublicservice.com/payment-bill/wi-assistance for more information on energy assistance.

Customers can take steps to manage their energy use by turning down their thermostats, sealing gaps around windows and doors, and scheduling an annual furnace tuneup, WPS noted. For more low and no cost energy-saving tips, visit www.wisconsinpublicservice.com/savings/tips/default.

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