Tuesday, May 30 2023 Sign In   |    Register

News Quick Search



Front Page
Power News
Gas News
Today's News
Yesterday's News
Week of May 22
Week of May 15
Week of May 08
Week of May 01
Week of Apr 24
By Topic
By News Partner
News Customization


Pro Plus(+)

Add on products to your professional subscription.
  • Energy Archive News

    Home > News > Gas News > News Article

    Share by Email E-mail Printer Friendly Print

    Biz bits: Fired up over natural gas prices in Lincoln

    March 20, 2023 - Matt Olberding, Lincoln Journal Star, Neb.


      Mar. 19—If you're like most people in Lincoln, you've probably seen natural gas bills this winter that are among the highest you've ever encountered.

      I wrote a story about two months ago that chronicled the sky-high Black Hills Energy bills people received for December and their reaction to them.

      Shortly after that, I started hearing from customers questioning why Black Hills was reporting continuing increases in the cost of natural gas while sources that track prices were reporting a decline.

      For example, Black Hills said at the time that what it was charging customers for natural gas in January was 14% higher than what it was in December.

      However, according to price data published by the Energy Information Administration, daily spot prices for natural gas declined from has high as $7.15 per million British thermal units right before Christmas to less than $3 per BTU by the end of January.

      The issue is that Black Hills plans its gas costs about a month in advance. So January prices charged to customers were actually reflective of December prices.

      The good news is that February prices dropped nearly 15% and March prices dropped another 20%.

      I looked at my own bills for December, January and February and noticed a trend of falling prices. For December, I paid 92 cents per therm, or 100,000 BTUs. That number went up to $1.04 for January but dropped to 90 cents in February and about 72 cents this month.

      There also are other factors driving the size of your bill. There's the polar vortex charge from the severe cold snap in February 2021, which sent natural gas prices soaring. That cost me $30 for December, $24 for January and nearly $20 for February. You also pay city and state sales taxes on your bill, and those are, of course, higher when your bill is higher.

      The good news is that if you signed up for Black Hills' Annual Price Option, you've saved a little bit of money over the past few months, since that price was set at about 86 cents.

      Black Hills, like other gas and electric utilities got burned two years ago during the brutal February cold snap and wound up paying hundreds of millions of dollars extra for gas on the spot market when prices soared.

      Brandy Johnson, a company spokeswoman, said in an email that it employs a strategy that focuses on "maintaining reliable supply that our customers depend on, price risk mitigation, cost stabilization through a diverse supply portfolio, and maintain(ing) a portfolio that is flexible enough to balance changes in forecasted "normal" requirements, higher demand (weather) events, warmer-than-typical weather, etc."

      "For those reasons, our plans can't solely rely on any one approach, like spot prices. Our portfolio includes financial hedging, physical baseload purchases, storage inventory, peaking supply and daily purchases (when needed)."

      The 'N' stands for 'not so much'

      Airbnb says its female hosts in Nebraska made $11 million last year.

      That sounds like a lot of money, although the vacation home rental company did not provide data from previous years to show if that's an increase.

      What it did provide, though, is the amounts women hosts in all the other states made, and it shows that Nebraska is not a popular state for vacation rentals.

      That $11 million ranked second to last, better only than North Dakota. Kansas was only slightly better at $12 million, while Iowa women brought in $16.6 million. Among bordering states, Colorado was by far the best, with $275 million earned by female hosts. Missouri was second with $65 million, followed by South Dakota, at $19 million. Surprisingly, at least to me, Wyoming only came in at $12.5 million.

      California was No. 1, with $1.3 billion earned by women hosts, with Florida coming in second at $1 billion.

      Listing the lists

      Regular readers of this column know I like to end it with a rundown of recent rankings of Lincoln and/or Nebraska in national reports. The latest:

      — Fourth best state to comfortably retire (NetCredit)

      Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or mailto:molberding@journalstar.com">molberding@journalstar.com.

      On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.


      (c)2023 Lincoln Journal Star, Neb.

      Visit Lincoln Journal Star, Neb. at www.journalstar.com

      Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


    Other Articles - Utility Business / General


       Home  -  Feedback  -  Contact Us  -  Safe Sender  -  About Energy Central   
    Copyright © 1996-2023 by CyberTech, Inc. All rights reserved.
    Energy Central® and Energy Central Professional® are registered trademarks of CyberTech, Incorporated. Data and information is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended for trading purposes. CyberTech does not warrant that the information or services of Energy Central will meet any specific requirements; nor will it be error free or uninterrupted; nor shall CyberTech be liable for any indirect, incidental or consequential damages (including lost data, information or profits) sustained or incurred in connection with the use of, operation of, or inability to use Energy Central. Other terms of use may apply. Membership information is confidential and subject to our privacy agreement.