While it felt like a long, cold winter to most Iowans, one utility official says the numbers don’t exactly match the sentiment. Mark Reinders, spokesman for MidAmerican Energy, says the overall natural gas costs for the winter weren’t significantly higher than in previous years.
Reinders says at the end of February, heating costs for the winter were slightly above earlier winters, but not by much. He says, “although it did seem like it was a harsher winter, in overall costs, on average, it was only about 26-dollars for the winter strip.” Reinders says the utility was able to lock in much of its winter supply of natural gas months ago, which helped keep costs to customers down.
He says the company bought natural gas at lower prices early, before the winter hit, and put it into contract or storage and then pulled it out as needed, instead of having to buy it day-to-day when prices — and demand — were higher. MidAmerican supplies natural gas to about 700-thousand customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota.