• Provided by Black Hills Energy
Wichita – Record freezing temperatures have created a significant increase in heating fuel demand, and cost-conscious consumers are facing the impact of a constantly running furnace on winter heating bills.
This heating season in the Midwest has been almost 15 percent colder than last year and more than 8 percent colder than normal. Combatting the cold has caused an increase in energy consumption leading to price spikes for heating fuel that range from major for propane to relatively minor for natural gas.
Natural gas customers have fared well compared to their propane counterparts, in part due to a national propane shortage.
“The typical homeowner can save anywhere from $750 to $1,500 a year each heating season by choosing safe, reliable natural gas over propane,” said Lon Meyer, director of business operations for Kansas natural gas utility Black Hills Energy.
Propane customers were slammed when the price of propane more than doubled from late December to late January, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data.
Meanwhile, the natural gas commodity cost rose an average of just 8 percent for Black Hills Energy’s residential customers in Kansas. As a public utility, Black Hills Energy doesn’t profit from higher commodity costs. The company passes the price it pays for natural gas through to customers without a markup.
“Our energy experts plan ahead and expect the unexpected when preparing to meet your winter energy needs,” Meyer said. “We purchase much of the natural gas you need each winter in the spring and summer, when lower demand usually means lower prices.”
Meyer said natural gas remains a great value even after the recent price fluctuation. “Natural gas prices have been relatively stable in recent years, and forecasters expect relatively stable prices for the foreseeable future.”
Natural gas service has an exceptional safety record, and it’s the fuel of choice to heat more than half the homes in the United States. Meyer said safe, reliable service at a competitive rate makes natural gas the logical energy solution. Its additional benefits add to that appeal.
“We have access to an abundant supply of natural gas, enough to last more than 100 years,” he said. “Almost all the natural gas we need comes from right here in North America, reducing our dependence on foreign oil.”
Switching to lower-cost natural gas could be easier than you think. “A simple, inexpensive modification at the fuel inlet on your furnace, water heater and each of your appliances is called for,” Meyer said.
“You may not realize you already have immediate access to natural gas service. If that’s not true, please call us and we’ll help you explore your options. We often tap into a nearby distribution pipeline and run an underground service line to your home.”
Almost the entire U.S. natural gas system is buried out of sight. But, Meyer said, it’s never out of mind.
“Safety is our first priority when it comes to serving our customers, the public and our employees,” he said. “We’ve been providing safe, reliable natural gas service in Kansas for more than a century, and we proudly support the communities we serve. Those efforts include economic development and quality of life programs, projects and partnerships.”