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Home Heating Costs May Rise After Below Zero Temperatures in February

Jonathon Cutler
Natural gas flaring in west Texas oil field

February’s frigid temperatures may mean higher bills for Montanans who use natural gas to heat their home or business.

Residents among NorthWestern Energy’s roughly 200,000 natural gas customers in Montana will see an average increase of $10 to their bill in March, according to NorthWestern spokesperson Jo Dee Black.

Below-zero February temperatures that stretched from Canada into Texas drastically spiked natural gas prices at a time when Montana was also grappling with cold weather. Black says NorthWestern needed to buy fuel on the open market for a few days in mid-February to supplement its stock.

“We had high energy demand by our customers in Montana, which meant we were using some of our stored gas and our purchased gas to meet those needs,” Black says.

Black says natural gas customers will see a ten cent increase per therm used in March, an additional ten cents per therm in April, and a smaller increase in May.

Montana’s second largest electric utility, Montana-Dakota Utilities, anticipates its customers will see an average uptick of $80 to $100 to their bills spread over a year due to natural gas purchases it made on the open market in February.

Kayla writes about energy policy, the oil and gas industry and new electricity developments.