Gas utilities warn of big January bill increases

Natural gas customers in central Indiana will pay $30 to $50 more than a year ago when they receive their January gas bills because of the unusually cold weather.

Citizens Energy expects bills to be about $178 for its average customer, which is up from about $132 in January 2013, the Indianapolis utility said Thursday.
Customers of Evansville-based gas utility Vectren Corp., which covers most of central Indiana outside of Marion County, will pay an average of $160, up from $130 last year.

Temperatures this January have been 18-percent colder than normal, driving up demand.

January 2013 was warmer than average, Vectren noted in a statement.

Prices for natural gas spiked in recent weeks as demand rose amid frigid weather.

Monday’s spot price was $5.66 per million Btu, up from $3.25 a year ago, according to the most recent data available.

Representatives from central Indiana’s main electricity providers, Duke Energy Indiana and Indianapolis Power & Light Co., did not have consumption figures immediately available Thursday.

Hoosiers’ higher gas bills stack onto ongoing issues with Indiana’s propane shortages because of the cold month. Gov. Mike Pence on Wednesday declared an energy emergency over the shortage.

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