Black Hills Energy: Expect Lower Gas Bills in Wyoming This Winter
As the bitter chill of winter fast approaches Wyoming, residents are reluctantly preparing for the inevitable increase in heating bills. In a time when budgets and purse strings have grown tighter, saving money on expenses like heating sits heavily on many home and business owners' minds.
In September of this year, Reuters reported that the National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA) said, "prices for home heating this coming winter will remain at near record levels," with caveats. Natural gas customers, the report stated, will see lower prices.
Black Hills Energy confirmed the anticipated reduction in natural gas bills for Wyoming customers.
“Historic production and above-average storage have provided a stable market to power this winter’s heating,” said Dustin McKen, Black Hills Energy’s general manager of Wyoming operations. “As we do throughout the year, we’re encouraging customers to use less energy through energy conservation and energy efficiency projects,” said McKen.
Customers will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief, considering last year's prices were nearly tripled compared to the previous decade. Last year, "the increased cost of natural gas was the primary driver of higher monthly energy costs for both electric and natural gas customers across the country last season," explained Laurie Farkas, Senior Community Affairs Manager at Black Hills. "Black Hills Energy says customers can anticipate lower natural gas costs this heating season than last winter."
Why Have Natural Gas Prices Dropped in Wyoming?
Everyone welcomes lower energy costs, but one can't help but wonder why the price has fluctuated so radically from last year's. The price difference is thanks to the Gas Cost Rate used by Black Hills Wyoming Gas, which reflects the cost to purchase natural gas from suppliers on behalf of Black Hills consumers. The 2023/2024 rate is around $0.3776, compared to last winter's $0.7291 per therm. Black Hills confirmed that there is no markup on natural gas prices.
DID YOU KNOW? Natural gas is measured in therms, or the amount of thermal heat energy used over time. One therm is equal to around 100,000 British Thermal Units (BTUs).
Understanding an Energy Bill:
Though natural gas contains no markup, an energy bill typically contains additional fees and taxes that increase the cost of an energy bill. For Black Hills consumers, an energy bill will show the following.
- Delivery: The cost to bring energy to an address. This fee "helps cover the costs of the powerlines, pipelines, technology, and equipment required to deliver that service. It also includes a volumetric charge which changes month to month based on how much natural gas you use."
- Energy supply: Incorporates the market cost of natural gas - with no markup.
- Taxes: State and local taxes.
- Other: "Credits, adjustments, and other charges included in your bill."
For more information about the Black Hills Energy bill, visit www.blackhillsenergy.com/billing-and-payments/understand-your-bill
Tips to Save Money on Energy Bills:
Black Hills Energy recommends the following to help consumers save money on their energy bills:
- Turn the Thermostat Down: "When you are home and awake, set the thermostat as high as comfortable on warm days and as low as is comfortable on cold days." - the Department of Energy recommends a daytime setting of 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Maintain Heat Pumps: "If you have a heat pump, maintain a moderate setting or use a programmable thermostat specially designed for use with heat pumps."
- Clean Laundry Wisely: "Run complete loads of laundry and dishes to avoid using more hot water and energy than necessary."
- Skip the Dry Cycle on Dishes: "Instead, prop the door open once dishes are washed and allow them to air dry."
- Seal Gaps Around Windows & Doors: "Use weather stripping and caulking around doors and windows to seal any holes or gaps, reducing energy waste."
- Turn Down the Hot Water Heater: "Turn down your hot water heater to 120 degrees and ensure the water heater is insulated properly. Water heaters are the second largest energy user in a house, accounting for about 18% of an energy bill."
- Cover drafty windows with plastic and/or hang insulating thermal curtains.
- When you are asleep or out of the house, turn the thermostat back to save as much as 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills.
- Schedule routine maintenance of your furnace - a fine-tuned furnace uses less energy!
- Use LED lights for holiday displays.