Iowans will be switching on their furnaces as temperatures dip into the 20s and 30s the next few nights, the coldest of the season so far. Mark Reinders, a spokesman for MidAmerican Energy, says Iowans’ heating bills for the months ahead should be about the same as last year, as natural gas supplies are stable.
Reinders says, “We are projecting that natural gas prices, which is the huge part of the energy bill for most MidAmerican customers, are going to be very similar to last year’s winter, if not slightly lower, based on the prices that are out there right now and projected for the next couple weeks.” Reinders says MidAmerican, which is Iowa’s largest utility, has a large portion of its winter supply of natural gas locked in.
“Going into the heating season, we try to get about 65% of our projected natural gas needs for all of our customers in either locked-in hedge pricing or underground storage,” Reinders says. As of October first, he says they were again at 65% stockpiled for this season. He says natural gas prices are stable because there have been no major disruptions in the supply system.
“The weather has cooperated,” Reinders says. “There hasn’t been a lot of the natural gas disasters that we have had, especially hurricanes. Hurricanes and bad weather down in the Gulf of Mexico region impacts natural gas supplies. The last couple of years, they have not had a lot of hurricane damage which keeps the supply flowing fairly steadily up here to the Midwest.”
MidAmerican serves about 500,000 natural gas customers in Iowa and Nebraska.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton