Natural gas is an important fuel source used to heat homes and cook food — and it’s one of the larger variables in your monthly utility bill. Customers are charged by the therm for the natural gas they use each month. As you may or may not know, natural gas prices fluctuate on the market because of supply and demand. Factors like increased customer use, expected cold weather, and supply chain disruptions can cause demand to increase and supply to decrease, which creates higher prices.
We encourage customers to conserve energy and limit their natural gas usage, which results in lower monthly bills. Customers can turn their thermostats down in the winter to make their furnace work less, open blinds or shades to let the sun naturally warm their home, or wear an extra layer of clothing. Small actions can make a difference each month on your bill.
In addition to these measures, you can count on us to do everything possible to manage risks and keep customer natural gas prices as low as possible. We typically purchase natural gas supply in the summer when prices are lower, and store it until the demand picks up in colder seasons. We’ve found that it’s cheaper to store natural gas and have this supply on hand for customers than to purchase it at market rates during heating months.
We also use a process called hedging, in which we enter long-term contracts for natural gas at fixed prices. This tactic keeps prices more predictable for customers and allows us to avoid potential price spikes, especially during weather extremes.
Additionally, we’ve partnered with third-party companies on renewable natural gas projects. Companies like Verbio create a cleaner version of natural gas, which we purchase, track and distribute to our customers.
These are just some ways we try to do the right thing for our customers by maintaining reliability and keeping rates as affordable as possible. To learn more about how your bill is calculated, check out our "Understand Your Bill" guides. And if you heat your home with propane or fuel oil, learn how much you can save annually with our natural gas calculator.
Chris is a Communications Partner specializing in Alliant Energy’s renewable investments. Coming from a journalism background, he’s excited to tell the story of Alliant Energy’s Clean Energy Blueprint and other renewable trends in new and exciting ways.