If you get a higher energy bill this month, you may attribute it to the lower temperatures outside, but that’s not the only reason.
Brendan Conway, a We Energies spokesperson, said the increased cost is due to natural gas prices, which have risen significantly across the country.
The increase in natural gas prices is being attributed to the high demand created by commerce and offices returning to pre-pandemic levels of activity. Natural gas is typically used to heat homes.
“When COVID hit, there wasn’t a lot of need and places shut down,” Conway explained. “As the economies started up again, there was a really high demand and not enough supply. Prices have remained high.”
We Energies warned customers in October 2021 that due to higher natural gas costs, they could expect to see an average increase of $25 per month during the winter months.
The company defined natural gas as a pass-through expense, meaning We Energies doesn’t earn a profit from the higher costs.
Higher natural gas prices came during one of the coldest snaps this year, with temperatures falling below zero throughout Wisconsin.
We Energies’ fuel cost adjustment is not a major factor in the increases.
In its 2022 fuel cost plan submitted to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin last year, the company said it was planning for a $29.4 million increase in fuel costs. The change is called a “fuel cost adjustment” and was made in anticipation of higher 2022 fuel costs.
However, it only accounts for an $0.81 increase per month in energy costs for residential customers.
As for the price hikes caused by increased natural gas costs, Conway expects those to stick around.
“The high prices are expected to at least last until the end of this winter,” he said.
For more on how to stay warm while keeping costs down, We Energies has this guide.
Talis Shelbourne is an investigative solutions reporter covering the issues of affordable housing and lead poisoning. Have a tip? You can reach Talis at (414) 403-6651 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @talisseer and message her on Facebook at @talisseer.
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