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Natural gas providers don’t expect more expensive heating bills this winter

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, at 1:55 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, at 10:44 p.m.

People paying for natural gas service likely won’t see their heating bills climb this winter, unless the weather turns bad. And weather forecasters say their projections show that a cold winter isn’t likely.

Officials with both Kansas Gas Service, with more than 167,000 customers in the Wichita area, and Black Hills Energy, with about 35,000 customers, say bills this winter should be about the same as last winter.

Nationally, the federal Energy Information Administration, is predicting that residential customers will pay 15 percent more to heat their homes with natural gas this winter, largely due to older temperatures east of the Rockies.

But Kansans are likely to have it easy.

The National Weather Service this week predicted that Kansas will likely have a repeat of last winter: warm, with a good chance of being dry again as well.

“Kansas Gas Service is anticipating that customer bills will be comparable to bills last winter heating season, when we experienced one of the warmest winters on record,” said Dawn Ewing, a company spokeswoman. She said that projection presumes normal weather conditions and the continuation of low natural gas prices. Right now the cost of KGS gas and home delivery for October is $4.61 per 1,000 cubic feet of gas, she said.

Black Hills Energy’s prices will be at or slightly below last year’s prices. Their price right now for gas is $4.20, said Gabe Schlickau, a spokesman.

Both companies are urging customers to find ways to save energy and stretch their dollars further.

KGS has energy saving tips on its website, www.kansasgasservice.com. The Home Energy Calculator allows customers to analyze their home energy use and provides a customized list of recommendations to cut costs, Ewing said.

Black Hills’ website, www.blackhillsenergy.com also has energy saving tips.

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