natural gas price outlook

City of Orange City Gas Customers,

You are probably hearing that higher natural gas prices will impact your monthly heating bills this winter. Over the past 2-3 weeks, much of the media has been covering this issue. Commodity prices for natural gas have more than doubled from this time last year. Unexpected increases in global demand as well as limited production and inventory have significantly increased the cost of natural gas.

For many years, the City of Orange City has worked with Clayton Energy to purchase a portion of its gas in advance to take advantage of low prices. Some of these purchases include multiple-year contracts with very favorable pricing. For this coming winter, we have already purchased 80% of our average natural gas usage and plan to have 100% of our usage pre-priced to be ready for the upcoming heating season. However, despite our efforts, please understand that natural gas bills will still be higher this heating season.

Based on market prices for natural gas over the last month customers can expect their gas bills to increase by 25-30 percent. This is substantially less than estimates from other energy companies and much less than the current market prices as of today for the upcoming heating season.

To reduce the impact of these natural gas prices, you can practice energy conservation measures. Examples include programmable thermostats, adding weather-stripping around doors and windows, properly maintaining your furnace, and lowering your thermostat. The Iowa Energy Office recommends turning thermostats back 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours per day for an annual savings of 10%.

The City of Orange City also offers budget billing to our customers to help spread the cost of winter usage over the entire year. Please contact our office if you want to set up budget billing (712) 707-4885. Additional financial assistance is available through Mid-Sioux Opportunities for those customers who might struggle to pay their heating bill.