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    Montana natural gas customers to see higher prices this winter


    November 24, 2021 - Clark Fork Valley Press

     

      The Montana Public Service Commission alerts natural gas customers that heating costs will be higher than last winter.

      Actions taken now can help Montanans manage higher bills.

      The delivery rates for natural gas service from companies regulated by the Montana PSC are not changing. However, the price of natural gas itself is driven by market conditions and the cost of natural gas is forecast to be higher due to increased global demand, coupled with limited natural gas production and inventory.

      "Montana's regulated natural gas utilities, including NorthWestern Energy, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. and Energy West Montana Inc., are forecasting residential bills to be 47% to 62% higher compared with bills last winter," said Erik Wilkerson, executive director of the Montana Public Service Commission. "Utilities buy natural gas supplies when the price is lower and also store supplies for use in the winter to mitigate gas supply cost increases for customers, but this year natural gas prices are higher nationally and globally."

      Montanans should contact their natural gas utility to learn about options that average annual bills for monthly payments.

      The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services' Low-Income Energy Assistance pays part of winter energy bills for eligible people and most utilities offer LIEAP recipients discounts on their bills.

      The Montana DPHHS Weatherization Program helps participants improve the heating efficiency of their homes. Information on LIEAP and the Weatherization Program is available at https://dphhs.mt.gov/hcsd/energyassistance/.

      Montana Energy Share provides emergency bill assistance. To learn more, go to energysharemt.com.

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