ORUD is alerting customers to prepare for higher natural gas bills Sept. 2022

Natural gas prices are projected to be higher than average this winter amid low inventories and strong demand globally. According to EIA’s September 2022 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the U.S. natural gas spot price is expected to continue to climb this winter, reaching a monthly average high in January 2023 being the highest since 2008.  As a public utility, we work hard to maintain stable pricing for our customers; however, faced with uncertainties of the international market and domestic supplies, this can be a challenge. We are continuously analyzing how we can offer the best rate while maintaining reliable operations.

To help keep costs low, ORUD purchases natural gas at the lowest possible price and then passes this cost directly to customers with no commodity markup. This means you pay what we pay. In addition, we use underground storage to take advantage of lower commodity costs by purchasing natural gas in the summer months (when commodity prices are traditionally lower) to withdraw later in the season and offset higher winter costs. Our goal is to keep rates as affordable as possible while still delivering safe and reliable natural gas to customers.

We know high energy prices are difficult for our customers, so we want to remind you to prepare for higher winter bills by utilizing conservation tips and tools. Consumer conservation can help reduce bill impacts, so it is a good time to make sure your household is prepared before cold weather hits.

There are several ways you can conserve and save money by using energy conservation tips, tools, and assistance programs to help prepare for higher winter bills. Now is a good time to make sure your household is prepared before cold weather hits!

  • Set your thermostat at 68° or lower when you’re home. Every degree below 68° can save four percent on your heating bills.
  • Wear layered clothing and thick socks to keep warm; then set your thermostat even lower.
  • At bedtime, lower your thermostat and add extra blankets.
  • Lower the setting on your thermostat when leaving your home for four hours or more.
  • Close garage doors, cover foundation vents, and close off vents and doors to seldom-used rooms.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed at night and on cloudy days; open curtains on sunny days for warmth.
  • Adjust your water heater temperature to 120° or “warm.” It still provides hot water and avoids scalding. You can also lower it when it’s not in use.
  • Add more insulation in your attic.

ORUD also offers a Levelized Billing option to help stabilize spikes in your monthly natural gas bill amount. Spreading out monthly costs more evenly helps customers ease bill fluctuations throughout the year. You will be able to sign up for Levelized Billing at any point during the year, as long as you have 12 months of usage history at your address.

For customers experiencing financial hardship and requiring help with energy costs, we encourage you to contact our Customer Service Team directly by calling 865-483-1377 to discuss available energy assistance programs. One of these programs that ORUD sponsors is ADFAC’s Project SAFE (Special Assistance Fund for Energy). This program is used to help customers with energy emergencies, regardless of the type of energy used. We are here to help you in any way we can!