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'Spike' in natural gas prices expected to lead to higher energy bills for Wisconsinites this winter

Posted at 10:15 PM, Oct 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-15 23:15:51-04

MILWAUKEE — You may have been tempted to turn on the heat today, but you might want to hold off for as long as you can. Because this winter, your energy bill could be higher than ever before.

"Prices are going to be high. People are going to open up that first heating bill in December, January, and they're going to go, 'hey,'" said We Energies spokesperson, Brendan Conway.

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Brendan Conway

We Energies officials are putting out a warning to Wisconsinites that a rise in natural gas prices could be hitting them where it hurts the most this winter. Their pockets.

"In the past year, we've seen the price of natural gas double. It's at its highest that it's been in about 10 years, and that's going to have an impact on our customers," said Conway.

Conway says customers can expect to pay $25 more a month this winter compared to last year. The increase comes as the demand for natural gas continues to rise.

"Hurricane Ida from a few months ago, that had an impact on refiners on the Gulf Coast. So it's all of these various things that have an impact on the price of natural gas," said Conway.

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So how can you save money on your energy bill over these next couple of months? Experts recommend getting your furnace checked, sealing any cracks around the house, and keeping your thermostat down.

"Maybe buy an extra sweater or sweatshirt so you can wear it around the house this year, and the thermostat down, and that's going to save you some bucks," said Conway.

But if you can't keep up with the extra costs, there are several resources to help you keep the heat on. Including Milwaukee County's Energy Assistance Program.

"There is a program that can help them with their energy bill, to help them give them that one-time credit for assistance with their We Energies bills towards heat or electric," said Maricela Gaona, the Energy Assistance Program Manager for Milwaukee County DHHS.

And thanks to an expansion to their income eligibility guidelines, they say they'll be able to help even more families this year.

"If someone has no heat or they received a disconnection notice from the vendor, are out of fuel, or are unable to purchase more, they can go ahead and apply," said Gaona.

To check if you're eligible to receive energy assistance this winter, click here.

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