GRIMES, IA – January 29, 2014 — Record low temperatures across the Midwest are driving a significant increase in the demand for heating fuel, and consumers will soon see how a constantly running furnace impacts winter heating costs.
Iowa natural gas utility Black Hills Energy offers free, budget-friendly account management options to help customers manage costs and use energy efficiently to save money by saving energy.
The company also urges customers concerned about higher bills for using more energy to call the company immediately to discuss payment plans and assistance options.
“We care about our customers and want to help you manage energy costs and use energy wisely to save money by saving energy,” said Tracy Peterson, Black Hills Energy’s vice president of Iowa natural gas operations.
The company offers a free level-payment plan to distribute costs for peak winter usage throughout the year. Special payment arrangements are available for qualifying customers, and Black Hills works closely with local energy assistance agencies to help those in need.
Information is available online at www.blackhillsenergy.com or by calling Black Hills Energy’s customer service center at 888-890-5554.
Peterson said Black Hills Energy plans ahead and expects the unexpected when preparing to meet customer needs each winter. The price Black Hills pays for natural gas is passed through to customers without markup, and the company purchases much of the gas customers will need each winter in the spring and summer, when lower demand means lower prices.
“Gas prices have been stable and are expected to stay so for the foreseeable future,” Peterson said. “When temperatures are exceptionally low and usage increases dramatically, the law of supply and demand can create a temporary increase in commodity prices.”
In the Midwest, temperatures in December were about 12 percent colder than normal and 23 percent colder than last year. The winter heating season thus far has been about 10 percent colder than normal, and almost 23 percent colder than last year.