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New report: Midwest natural gas bills could go up by 30%

Natural gas customers in the Midwest can expect to spend more to heat their homes this winter, but their bills should still be comparable to or lower than most winters this past decade, according to a new federal report .

Gas customers in the Midwest may see their total heating costs rise by an average of 30 percent, compared with last winter, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistical arm of the Department of Energy.

Propane customers also are projected to pay 30 percent more, and heating oil users could pay almost 40 percent more. Electric heating customers could pay about 8 percent more on their bills, the EIA said in its short-term energy outlook today.

Energy prices last winter were especially low, with warmer-than-normal weather reducing heating demand to the lowest level nationwide in at least 25 years, according to the report. We don’t know yet what Illinois utilities will predict for this winter, but last winter Crain’s Chicago Business reported that bills were down 12.5 percent to 23 percent.

The EIA’s estimates are based on a number of factors, including expected fuel prices, projected heating demand, and weather. This winter is expected to be colder than last year, but still warmer than the 10-year average.

No matter the predictions, remember that energy efficiency can help you stay comfortable without breaking the bank. Read our tips, and visit our energy efficiency page.

Also, don’t forget to share your best winter efficiency tip with us. You could win $100!

Heating source Expenditures  last winter ($) Projected expenditures this winter ($) Percent change (%)
Natural gas 515 $668 29.7
Heating oil 992 1,370 38.1
Electricity 972 1,052 8.2
Propane 982 1,272 29.6