SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- City Utilities (CU) provided new information Monday night, Feb. 23, about what customers can expect on their future utility bills.
Gary Gibson, CEO and General Manager of City Utilities, gave an update during the City Council meeting, saying we can expect a higher bill, but not as extreme as customers might think.
“I’ve had a lot of people very scared and concerned after seeing stories from Texas, and people getting $16,000 bills,” said Gibson. “That’s not going to happen in Springfield, but there is going to be an impact, solely from a usage standpoint as the price of gas goes up, and they had to use their furnaces more to heat their homes and their businesses.”
Next Month’s Bill:
CU says in general, customers have used about 30% to 40% more energy in the month of February when compared to January of 2021.
On your next bill in March, Gibson says customers can expect their bill to increase the same percentage compared to February’s bill.
Gibson says the additional cost is only due to usage. With extremely low temperatures in the Ozarks, customers were using more electricity in order to keep their homes and businesses warm.
CU says customers who made efforts to conserve energy during the weather event will likely see less of an impact on their bill compared to those that didn’t try to conserve.
City Utilities explained the cost of extreme cold temperatures will not be recovered by just one bill. The costs will need to be spread out over the next several months due to CU having to purchase a portion of natural gas at market price last week.
Because Springfield’s regular shipments of gas were curtailed due to frozen pipelines, City Utilities had to purchase natural gas at “unprecedented prices.”
“If you look previously to this event, the highest natural gas published price I saw was in New York Zone 6 at $128/dekatherm,” said Gibson. “There were prices in the Midwest published at over $1,200 a dekatherm. Fortunately, City Utilities didn’t have to purchase any of that gas, but we did purchase gas up to about $380 a dekatherm to get that into Springfield. So that is definitely going to have an effect on our customers.”
Gibson says the cost of natural gas purchased at that price breaks down to about $375 per customer.
Under the CU Board’s current plan, these prices would need to be recovered in six months.
Gibson says City Utilities will be meeting with the Board, and will likely seek approval from City Council, to extend that timeline to one or two years.
Here’s how your bill might increase:
- 6 months = About $62.50 per monthly bill
- 1 year = About $31.25 per monthly bill
- 2 years = About $15.60 per monthly bill
The City has not yet confirmed these amounts, but City Utilities assured it will work closely with customers who may struggle to pay.
Gibson recommended customers who are struggling financially to call customer service at (417) 863-9000.
There are also options for customers to track their usage by the hour on City Utilities website. More information can be found here.