Natural gas prices for the 2021-22 winter heating season are expected to be quite a bit higher than last year in Great Plains Natural Gas’ service territories.

In Minnesota, prices for the upcoming heating season, which runs November through March, are expected to increase by an average of 86%, or $399 over last heating season, based on average temperatures. In North Dakota, prices are expected to increase by an average of 140%, or $443 over last heating season.

The increase is due in large part to the slow return of natural gas production from the pandemic coupled with an increase in demand. Recovery of costs from the cold weather event in February 2021 also contributed to the increase.

The cost of natural gas is a straight passthrough to customers; Great Plains does not earn a profit on the cost of natural gas. The company goes through a robust process to secure an adequate supply for the winter heating season, using different sources and methods to mitigate big swings in prices.

The price outlook for this year’s heating season assumes no serious supply disruptions or extreme weather impacts on supply and demand. Prices are subject to monthly changes based on fluctuations in the wholesale market and are approved by regulatory commissions.

Customers can control costs by installing a programmable thermostat, having their furnace checked, changing filters regularly, and caulking or weather stripping leaky windows and doors. More information is available here.

Balanced billing is a way for customers to levelize their payments over the course of a year. More information is available here. We also can direct customers to agencies that provide assistance, such as LIHEAP.