With tough economic times, winter heating bills could be more of a challenge than ever. Peoples Gas wants to help you understand what to expect this winter. We also have ideas about what you can do to better manage your heating bills.

If your question is not answered here, or if you'd like more information, please email contact us.

Will my heating bills be higher or lower this winter?
Based on what we know today, we expect the price of natural gas to be lower this winter than last winter. And that's good news, because the price of natural gas is a large part of your monthly heating bill. We can't predict exactly what gas prices or gas bills will be, because several factors will continue to influence them. For example, your bill will be impacted by winter temperatures and how much gas you actually use. But we estimate that compared to last winter, if temperatures are normal, bills will be about 10-15% lower. Again, this estimate is based on natural gas prices only. Your bill may vary based on your natural gas use.

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If natural gas prices are lower this year, do I even need to worry about winter heating bills?
We may be seeing lower natural gas prices than last year. But we all need to prepare now by doing what we can to use natural gas more efficiently and manage upcoming heating bills. Peoples Gas is buying gas at the best possible price for customers. You can prepare by using energy-saving tips to use less energy and manage your energy bill. Another way to manage your energy bill is with Budget Billing. With Budget Billing, you'll pay an average bill monthly, instead of higher bills in the winter. Finally, customers with a limited or fixed income can apply for help. If you've recently had a change in your job or income, you may find you're eligible for energy assistance – even if you weren't in the past. Find out if you qualify for energy assistance or weatherization programs and apply early, because funding is limited.

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Is it safe to try heating my home in other ways?
Be careful – the most important thing is to be safe in your home. Follow instructions for safe, approved heating methods. Our safety tips can help!

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What determines the price of natural gas?
Natural gas prices rise and fall for the same reason the prices of other goods rise and fall. It's called "supply and demand." The amount of natural gas our country produces and uses is closely linked to the price of the gas. If the supply or demand for natural gas changes, a change in the price of the gas follows. Sometimes, even news about possible changes in the supply of natural gas can cause the price to change. Right now, the price is lower because across the U.S. the supply of natural gas in storage is high and production is stable. Conservation efforts by consumers have grown, and an overall decline in the economy has some businesses using less natural gas — so the demand for natural gas is down. And finally, a calm hurricane season hasn't interrupted drilling for natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico. Peoples Gas purchases natural gas on your behalf, and we don't mark up the price. In other words, the price we pay for the gas is the same price you pay. Natural gas has always been a sensible value. And now that value's even greater.

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