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Illinois natural gas prices drop (for now)

By Samantha Vercellino  gasdropimage

The temperature isn’t the only thing that’s dropping. Gas prices have fallen by up to 31 percent this month, compared with December.

Here’s a sampling of what major Illinois utilities are charging this month compared with last:

Utility Company Jan. 2015 (cents/therm) Dec. 2014 (cents/therm) Percent
Ameren  56.308 57.17 -1.51%
Nicor  44.00 49.00 -10.2%
Peoples Gas  39.76 57.92 -31.35%
North Shore Gas  49.66 58.92 -15.72%

Interestingly, Peoples Gas, which along with its sister company, North Shore Gas, charged the highest rates in Illinois last year, had the biggest drop from December. The 18-cents plunge this month gives Peoples the lowest gas rate in more than a decade.

Last winter, Peoples gas didn’t win any popularity contests after announcing a $100 million delivery rate-hike request at the same time its supply rate went through the roof, eventually hitting $1.19 per therm.

North Shore Gas prices reached $1.21 per therm last winter. Now, customers also are experiencing a drop in rates, by roughly 9 cents per therm. Nicor customers are seeing a decrease of 5 cents per therm.

Why the drop? According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistical arm of the Department of Energy, the falling gas prices reflect a lower heating demand and higher natural gas production.

But who knows how long this will last—especially given the latest cold snap. In 2014, utility rates didn’t skyrocket until a few months into the year, after the effects of January’s polar vortex set in. Fasten your seat belts, folks—and follow CUB’s favorite cold weather tips.