Midwesterners who use natural gas to heat their homes could see their bills go up slightly this winter season, even as the nationwide average drops, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The EIA, the statistical arm of the Department of Energy, predicts that average gas bills in the Midwest will be up about 1.5 percent this winter (October through March), compared with last. While gas prices are forecast to be up this winter, usage could be down due to a milder winter, the EIA said. (CUB’s take: A greater awareness of energy efficiency also has had an impact.)
As a result, the EIA predicts Midwestern natural gas consumers will spend $611 on average this winter, up from $603 last winter. That’s the region’s highest natural gas expenditure prediction since $676 in the winter of 2014-2015.
But the Midwest seems to be in contrast with the rest of the nation’s natural gas heaters this winter.
Across the country, the EIA expects typical natural gas heating households to spend about $580 this winter, down about 1 percent from last winter’s national average. Again, while higher gas prices are predicted, consumption is expected to drop.
As for electric heaters in the Midwest, the EIA expects average winter electric heating costs to decrease by 3 percent this year, floating around $1,281. Although Illinois and most surrounding states primarily use natural gas for heating, electricity is the second most commonly used heating source.
The expected decline in national consumption can be linked to a warmer forecast. Based on the most recent prediction from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the EIA expects a warmer winter for most of the country. Last winter was slightly colder than the 10-winter average, from 2009 to 2019.
Keep in mind, all these numbers are EIA averages. Your individual winter heating cost is largely dependent on local weather conditions, utility rates, thermostat settings, the size of your home, and how energy efficient it is.
For more information on how to cut your heating costs, visit our website to see if your home is ready for winter weather.