Natural gas prices are up this month (WAY up for some customers). If last month’s extreme weather and the Texas disaster have taught us anything, it’s that all states should make sure they are well-prepared to protect energy customers.
In mid-February, a large part of the country, from Illinois to Texas was slammed with subzero temperatures and up to a foot of snow.
You’ve all heard about the disaster in Texas—freezing natural gas wellheads, millions of people without power and heat, and dozens of cold-related deaths. The same supply and demand problems during that one week in February have caused natural gas prices to soar in Illinois. Customers in some communities were hit with shockingly high natural gas bills. Plus, most of Illinois’ regulated gas utilities have seen price increases from last month—from about 6 percent to 84 percent. (And it could get worse in April.)
If the extreme weather and soaring energy bills have taught us anything it’s that we need quick action to protect consumers’ utility bills in the wake of the storm and to prepare our energy systems for future weather incidents—extreme cold, extreme heat, and violent storms.