Bitter cold impacts January energy use, February bills
Closing out a January that produced arctic-like temperatures, Vectren Energy Delivery of Indiana expects customers to receive higher natural gas bills in February, which reflect January's higher-than-normal energy consumption.
The utility reminds customers that January 2014 temperatures were 18 percent colder than normal and 25 percent colder than those experienced in January 2013.
"Given January has been both colder than normal and colder than last year, customers will likely experience increases when opening February bills," Mike Roeder, president of Vectren Energy Delivery of Indiana North, said.
In January of last year, the average customer paid a total of about $130 for natural gas service, which reflected slightly lower gas prices and weather that was nearly 10 percent warmer than normal. In January 2014, that same customer will pay about $160.
Bills vary by customer, Vectren reminds, depending on the size and age of the home, number of gas appliances, number in the household, thermostat settings and levels of insulation.
"Although natural gas prices for January have ticked upward with high national demand, future pricing remains relatively low and stable due to our nation's abundant supply," Roeder added.
"Furthermore, Vectren has a portfolio approach to buying gas, which includes long-term and short-term purchases, and utilizing gas storage fields to inject lower-priced gas in off-peak seasons. This ensures mid-season price spikes have minimal impact on our customers."
Natural gas is a commodity bought and sold in a national deregulated market and prices fluctuate daily due to supply and demand pressures.
Vectren purchases natural gas on behalf of its customers and then passes those costs on to customers through the gas cost adjustment, which is listed on the Vectren bill as "Gas Cost Charge."
Vectren utilities are not allowed to mark up nor profit from the purchase and sale of natural gas. Only gas costs actually incurred and approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission are recovered from customers.
Vectren has a number of tools to help customers manage their energy bills, including energy assistance and tips, appliance rebates and payment options. Details can be found on Vectren.com or by calling 1-800-227-1376.
Vectren North delivers natural gas to approximately 570,000 natural gas customers in Putnam and 47 other Indiana counties.