Over the past year, you’ve undoubtedly noticed increasing prices of many everyday goods and services such as groceries and gasoline. Similarly, natural gas prices have also increased. From January through September 2022, wholesale natural gas prices more than doubled what they were compared to last year during the same time period according to the NYMEX Natural Gas Contract Settlement Price History.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, natural gas prices are expected to remain elevated through the remainder of 2022. Higher gas prices can mean higher gas bills for Illinois customers, especially during winter when usage increases.
Although there are many ways to manage your natural gas consumption, one way to protect your budget is to sign up for a Guaranteed Bill Plan. The Guaranteed Bill Plan guarantees you’ll pay a flat monthly bill amount for 12 months regardless of changes in gas prices or weather.* We also offer PriceGuard Plans that come in a variety of term lengths and help protect you from further increases in natural gas prices by locking in a fixed price per therm.* Click here to find the plan that best suits your needs.
Why are gas prices increasing?
Supply and demand are the primary drivers of natural gas prices. For many years, U.S. natural gas production was strong enough to meet increasing demand. Current events, however, have caused additional demand for natural gas and reduced the available supply. Some of the factors leading to the increased demand include:
• Higher demand for natural gas to produce electricity – especially for summer air conditioning.
• Increased exports of liquefied natural gas.
• Geopolitical uncertainty.
• Increased usage as businesses return to normal from the pandemic.
When will gas prices go back down?
Because there are a number of factors that affect supply and demand, there is no way to definitively know when or how natural gas prices will change in the future.
My fixed price plan or Guaranteed Bill Plan is near expiration and the new fixed price or Guaranteed Bill monthly price being offered is so much higher. Why is it so much higher?
If you have been on a fixed price plan or a Guaranteed Bill plan, you have been protected from changes in wholesale natural gas prices during your contract term. Your new fixed price or Guaranteed Bill monthly price reflects changes in wholesale natural gas prices which have been increasing.
Energy Assistance Options
If you are worried about paying your bill or missing a payment due to financial hardship, there are financial assistance options available to you. Please visit https://keepwarm.illinois.gov/ for a comprehensive list of energy assistance options.
Illinois Energy℠ (IE) is not the same entity as your gas delivery company. You are not required to enroll with Illinois Energy. Beginning on 9/1/2022, the Nicor Gas gas supply cost rate is $1.24 per therm. The utility gas supply cost will expire on 9/30/2022. Beginning on 9/1/2022, the North Shore gas supply cost rate is $0.9265 per therm. The utility gas supply cost will expire on 9/30/2022. Beginning on 9/1/2022, the Peoples Gas gas supply cost rate is $1.0472 per therm. The utility gas supply cost will expire on 9/30/2022. For more information go to the Illinois Commerce Commission’s free website at www.icc.illinois.gov/ags/consumereducation.aspx.
*Enrollment eligibility is subject to Illinois Energy’s credit and payment policies, and other eligibility requirements. The PriceGuard and Guaranteed Bill plans are subject to their respective Illinois Energy terms and conditions of service, which can be found at www.illenergy.com. The PriceGuard Plan or Guaranteed Bill Plan may be higher than the price of traditional utility service at any time during the term of your agreement, but your price for natural gas will not change as you are guaranteed the PriceGuard price or Guaranteed Bill flat monthly price you’ve enrolled on for the contract term. There are no early termination charges associated with the PriceGuard Plan or Guaranteed Bill Plan. Illinois Energy does not currently have a qualifying Commission-approved guaranteed savings plan under which it can serve customers who have received financial assistance under the LIHEAP program in the previous 12 months or who currently are on PIPP.