(FOX 9) - Staying warm and cozy throughout the cold Minnesota winter is going to cost a lot more this year.
Warmer weather and the pandemic caused natural gas consumption to plummet in 2020, but now that things have opened back up, demand is up and prices are skyrocketing.
"Mainly, it's an increase in demand and a decrease in supply," said Alison Trouy, Minnesota Energy Resources spokesperson, who says their customers will see their monthly bills go up an average of $44.
"This 10-year high it could be a shock to some of our customers, but that's why we want to be proactive and let them know ahead of time, so they can take some of these simple steps so we can make sure they can manage their energy bills," said Trouy.
It's not just natural gas customers who will feel a pinch in their pocketbooks.
The Energy Information Administration says people who use propane to heat their homes will see a 54% price bump, while a 43% increase is on the way for those who use home heating oil. A 6% hike is expected for electric heating.
The price of home heating really depends on the market, but there are some small steps you can take to save as much money as possible.
"Window coverings work, keeping the windows open and shades open during the day to let the sun in can help keep warm air inside the house," said Nick Reiland of Metro Heating and Cooling.
Reiland also recommends installing a programmable thermostat.
"You'll lower the temperature at night while you sleep, you'll never notice it and you can save hundreds of dollars over the season," said Reiland.
More Minnesotans than ever are also eligible for the Energy Assistance Program since the Department of Commerce raised income requirements. 600,000 Minnesotans can now get up to $1,600 for energy bills.
For more information and to apply for the program, visit the Energy Assistance Program website.
Minnesota Energy Resources customers are also eligible for select home rebates.
CenterPoint Energy, the state's largest natural gas company, recommends these energy savings tips:
- Maintain Efficient Furnace. Have your furnace inspected and tuned up so it is running efficiently and safely.
- Keep Furnace Filter Clean. Clean/replace your furnace filter regularly. A dirty filter reduces the efficiency of your furnace and makes it consume more gas.
- Adjust Thermostat Settings. Set your thermostat back by 10 degrees at night or when you’re away for at least 8 hours – you can potentially save 10% on your space heating costs. Use a programmable thermostat so your heating system works around your schedule.
- Prevent Air Leaks. Prevent air leaks by checking and repairing all cracked, separated or missing exterior caulking and weather stripping, especially around windows and entry doors, as well as checking roof and soffit vents for possible air-flow obstructions.
- Cover Drafty Windows. If you have old, single-pane or drafty windows, replace them or cover them with heat-shrink film. Drafty windows can account for up to 25% of a home’s heating loss.
- Use Energy Analyzer. We have a free online tool (Energy Analyzer) that our residential customers can use to help them better understand their household energy use and identify ways to save energy and money: www.centerpointenergy.com/energyanalyzer
- Get a Home Energy Audit. Home Energy Squad (a joint program of CenterPoint and Xcel) is available to provide low-cost (or free, if eligible) home energy audits to identify opportunities for energy savings and also provide free energy-saving items like weather-stripping, programmable/smart thermostats, and high-efficiency water fixtures: https://www.mncee.org/home-energy-squad