Black Hills Energy encourages conservation and budgeting to manage higher winter heating bills
Last updated 12/14/2021 at 3:35pm | View PDF
As winter heating season begins, Black Hills Energy is urging Colorado natural gas customers to plan now for the impacts of higher natural gas prices. Just as commodity prices are rising globally on many items ranging from the bacon in our breakfast to gasoline that fuels our cars, the same is true for the increase in market prices for the energy used to warm our homes during the coldest months of the year.
Black Hills Energy estimates that Colorado residential natural gas customers should plan for an increase of approximately 51-71% (depending on location) for the cost of natural gas compared to last winter. Actual monthly costs will depend on individual customer usage. Estimated bill increases are due to the higher price of natural gas and the proposed recovery of Storm Uri gas costs, which is still pending Colorado Public Utilities Commission approval.
Black Hills Energy does not make any money on natural gas, even when prices increase. Natural gas costs are collected via an annual gas cost adjustment, or GCA, which is adjusted up or down depending on actual costs. The most recent annual gas cost adjustment was implemented Nov. 1.
The best way to lower monthly energy bills for natural gas is to reduce the amount of gas you use by making your home more energy efficient. Black Hills Energy offers tips and resources for improving home energy efficiency throughout the year, including easy and affordable upgrades that help reduce wasted energy and manage energy use. The company also offers rebates to help offset the cost of thermostats and more energy-efficient gas equipment such as water heaters, clothes washers and furnaces.
Customers who may need help paying their monthly bill can also reach out to Black Hills Energy to connect with a local energy assistance partner agency.
Black Hills Energy customers can consider options like Budget Billing, a payment plan that averages the amount owed each month. This budget option supports customers looking to avoid the seasonal variances in bills by averaging out their usage over a 12-month period. The company also encourages simple, yet effective energy conservation and efficiency tips to help customers prevent energy waste and keep their expenses down throughout the heating season.
Black Hills Energy says it is closely monitoring the current and forecasted price and supply of natural gas. For updates on how the company responds to increased natural gas prices and for more tips on saving energy, visit www.blackhillsenergy.com/winter-ready
CSU rate increase
Meanwhile, customers who receive gas or electric from Colorado Springs Utilities – including a portion of Security – had their prices increased effective Nov. 15. The CSU Utilities Board said this was a short-term increase.
“Fuel prices are rising globally, resulting in higher costs for us to deliver energy to you,” CEO Aram Benyamin said, adding that as a community-owned utility, CSU does not make a profit on the rates it charges to power customers’ home or businesses.
“Fortunately, while we pass along increases, we also pass on decreases,” he said. “If fuel prices decrease as expected, these rates could also decrease in February 2022. And, the American Recovery Act has greatly increased funding for customer assistance programs like LEAP (Low-income Energy Assistance Program) this year. I encourage you to learn more about this program if you or someone you know needs help with winter heating or water bills.”
For more information about LEAP, visit https://cdhs.colorado.gov/leap or call 1-866-HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435).