Rapid City, SD – Natural gas prices have more than doubled since spring, which could continue into the winter.
Going back to last spring, wholesale gas prices were about two and a half dollars. It’s just six dollars today, ”explained Chris Nelson, chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission. And so you can see that it has accumulated over the last six months and has actually doubled or more.
In South Dakota, the supply of natural gas to homes is regulated, meaning prices do not change. This is about 30 percent of a person’s account.
However, the price of gas itself is not controlled. This segment is driven by market forces controlling costs.
In addition to rising prices, the cold snap in February has pushed up demand. The State Public Utilities Commission then worked to reduce prices for customers.
Part of this increase will also include recovering natural gas costs from the beginning of this year.
Of course, additional factors are contributing to this inflation. High demand for the coming months and gas levels below last year’s total are also responsible. Not only in South Dakota but also nationally.
“Today, that storage is about 15 percent more normal,” says Nelson. And the lack of space at the moment means, ‘Hey, we don’t have as much gas as usual, we’ve increased demand,’ and that pushes the price up. “
Before things get out of hand, the Public Utilities Commission advises residents to take steps to keep their bills affordable during the winter months.
By upgrading utilities to more energy-efficient and setting temperature controls at lower temperatures, residents can make things much easier.
“That energy source, natural gas conservation, is really dependent on the end user to manage their home temperatures,” said Toby Bordwick, Montana Dakota District District Manager of Black Hills. “Use those programmable temperature controllers and manage the usage in front of the house.”
More information on helping to reduce costs can be found here: www.montana-dakota.com/