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A Story About Natural Gas Supply and Demand

NorthWestern Energy uses historical data to determine how much natural gas customers need, and then purchases the gas when prices are low so it can be used when demand, and prices, are higher.

Unfortunately, the winter storm that wreaked havoc in Texas, severely impacted our country’s oil and natural gas production and distribution. At the same time, extremely cold temperatures across the Midwest increased the demand for natural gas dramatically, forcing many utilities to buy additional supply to meet the needs of customers who rely on natural gas. High demand and low supply meant that the price for natural gas skyrocketed, leaving us all to pay far more than we’re used to. 

Concerned about higher bills?

We know many of you are concerned about your upcoming energy bills with the extremely cold temperatures we endured this winter, especially in February. NorthWestern Energy has been working to make a plan that helps protect customers from higher-than-normal gas bills.  

For South Dakota customers, this increase will be reflected within the Purchase Gas Commodity (PGC) beginning with customer’s March bills. The PGC is found on monthly statements under the Natural Gas Services portion of the bill. Our goal is to minimize the effects of this energy emergency and make the financial impact more manageable by spreading the additional costs out over a year.

NorthWestern Energy purchased some natural gas for its Montana customers from the market and our customers will see an increase in the cost of the natural gas supply on their bills. Montana residential and commercial natural gas customers will see that higher cost of the natural gas supply reflected on their bill on the item “Natural Gas Supply.” The increase will be $0.10 per therm in March, about a $10 increase on the average residential bill. Customers will have an additional $0.10 per therm increase in April, and a smaller increase in May.

In 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.” 

Billing and Payment Options

If you are worried about your ability to pay a higher energy bill, there are payment assistance programs available. We also offer Budget Billing, which allows your NorthWestern Energy bill to be the same amount each month, year round. We can also explore a payment arrangement if your account qualifies.

  • Log in to your My Energy Account for payment and billing program information.
  • Or call our Customer Service Team at 800-245-6977 to discuss additional options 

Top10_EnergyEfficiency_TipsSDTips to Save Energy

Making small changes to your home and the way you use energy can really help lower your energy bill. Here are just a handful of easy and free things you can do to conserve. 

  • Use LED bulbs in all the lamp and fixtures, but especially the ones you use the most.
  • Turn off lights and appliances when you’re done using them.
  • Use a smart power strip to turn off a group of electronics that are not being used.
  • Set your thermostat to 68°F in the winter when you’re awake and lower while you’re asleep. In the summer, set it to 78°F when you’re home and warmer when you’re away.
  • Turn down the thermostat on your water heater and insulate your water heater and the first six feet of hot and cold water pipes.
  • Seal air leaks such as vents, windows and doors using weather stripping or caulk.

For more tips and tricks, visit our How-To Video page.

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