Hydro History Book
Sioux Falls, SD. – May 28, 2021 – The extreme weather that gripped the Midwest the week of Feb.15 resulted in temperatures that were far below normal. Record energy demand throughout the Midwest during this time caused natural gas prices to spike.
NorthWestern Energy and other Nebraska energy companies worked with the Nebraska Public Service Commission to address the impact on Nebraskan’s natural gas bills. NorthWestern Energy provides natural gas service to customers in Alda, Grand Island, Kearney and North Platte, Nebraska.
Beginning in June, the higher cost of natural gas purchased during the energy emergency will apply over the next 24 months to customer bills. Customers will see the increase reflected within the item on their bill labeled “Purchase Gas Commodity.” NorthWestern Energy’s rate to deliver natural gas to customers is unchanged.
NorthWestern Energy serves about 38,000 residential customers in Nebraska. For the average residential customer, the annual increase is estimated to be $205. NorthWestern Energy serves about 5,000 commercial customers in Nebraska. For the average small commercial customer, the annual increase is estimated to be $735.
We encourage anyone concerned about their ability to pay a higher energy bill to contact NorthWestern Energy’s customer service department.
Why did the weather impact natural gas prices?
Natural gas is a commodity purchased from a competitive market. NorthWestern Energy uses historical use data and forecasts to purchase natural gas when prices are low for use by our customers when prices and demand are higher.
In mid-February extreme temperatures throughout the entire Midwest caused historical demand for energy. Freezing temperatures were recorded from Texas to Canada. Much of the natural gas that serves the Midwest is produced in Texas, Wyoming, and North Dakota. The extreme temperatures caused production losses in these states. As a result of the loss of supply and unprecedented demand, natural gas prices were at record highs. NorthWestern Energy used the previously procured natural gas and storage withdrawals, however, in order to meet the extraordinary demand, additional purchases for our customers were made at very high prices.
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About NorthWestern Energy (Nasdaq: NWE)
NorthWestern provides electricity and / or natural gas to approximately 743,000 customers in Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska. We have generated and distributed electricity in South Dakota and distributed natural gas in South Dakota and Nebraska since 1923 and have generated and distributed electricity and distributed natural gas in Montana since 2002. More information on NorthWestern is available on the company’s website at www.northwesternenergy.com.
Jo Dee Black