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Natural Gas Prices Are At Their Lowest In 10 Years

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- It finally feels like winter. But as you crank up your furnace tonight, remember January's home heating prices are at a 10-year low, according to CenterPoint Energy.

CenterPoint Energy officials said it comes down to more supply and less demand. The company said last year between November and January, heating demand was up 12 percent. The same period this year, it's down 14 percent, which is a savings of 26 percent on your bill this month.

So, if you paid $100 on your bill last January, you should pay roughly $75 this January, according to Rebecca Virden, a spokesperson for CenterPoint Energy.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce monitors the state's energy and utilities. Commissioner Mike Rothman said more supply is coming from shale drilling operations across the country, in the east and south. He said with lower demand from warm weather, Minnesotans get a break.

"People are watching every cent they spend for their budgets can look at their bills in January and can look at their bills going forward in the next couple months and say this is welcome news," said Rothman, who expects this trend will continue into 2012.

Customers like Mark Jarboe of south Minneapolis have noticed.

"We got the benefit of the fact it's been like summer until last week, that helps too. We just aren't just using that much gas but the price clearly has gone down, just really nice," said Jarboe.

CenterPoint said their average customer pays $700 on their natural gas bill a year, and 70 percent of that bill comes from using the furnace.

CenterPoint Energy's Billing Rates

January 2012 residential rate $0.64490 (per therm)
January 2011 residential rate $0.75017
January 2010 residential rate $0.83695
January 2009 residential rate $0.89495
January 2008 residential rate $0.98442
January 2007 residential rate $1.06062
January 2006 residential rate $1.22309
January 2005 residential rate $0.91318
January 2004 residential rate $0.85524
January 2003 residential rate $0.67578
January 2002 residential rate $0.53837

The average Minnesota home uses 700 therms per year, according to CenterPoint Energy.

CenterPoint Energy said 80 percent of their bills are made up of the commodity price of natural gas.


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