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PSC: Higher heating bills likely this winter

Dave Thompson, Prairie Public
Public Service Commissioners Randy Christmann (l), chair Julie Fedorchak, and Brian Kroshus

Members of the North Dakota Public Service Commission are telling consumers to prepare for higher heating bills this season.

The higher bills are driven by the higher prices for natural gas.

Commissioner Brian Kroshus said the utilities are not responsible for that, because the cost of gas is a “pass-through,” meaning they don’t make money off the gas itself.

Kroshus said because of the February cold spell in Texas, gas prices spiked – and have stayed high.

"Consumers need to prepare that it's going to potentially be a tough heating season," Kroshus said. "The forecast is for below average temperatures. So it swill likely be a colder winter, in terms of how it's forecasted, compared to a year ago."

Kroshus said he’s especially concerned on how this is going to affect lower-income households.

"There ar4e energy assistance programs available for low income households," Kroshus said. "If they're not participating, I would encourage them to do so."

Kroshus said people should also look at insulation, and “smart thermostats,” to help rein in the costs as much as they can.