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Fremont's natural gas prices nearly tripled from last October

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Fremont’s natural gas prices this month are nearly three times higher than last October, according to a press release from the city.

Gas prices are currently $6.06 per 1,000 cubic feet (Mcf), compared to prices of $2.08 per Mcf in October 2020, resulting in a 191% increase from last year.

The city has experienced increasing gas prices each month, with August seeing prices of $1.80 per Mcf.

“This is occurring nationwide, and we just want our customers to be as informed as possible,” said Lottie Mitchell, customer services director for the Fremont Department of Utilities.

As a result of these increasing prices, average households — which consume around 120 per 100 Ccf (100 cubic feet) per month for January, February and March — can expect to see an increase of around $47 per month compared to last year.

Countries around the world are also experiencing rising costs in natural gas, as prices in Europe and Asia are at record highs, according to a report by CNBC.

The United States’ increase is due to a lack of infrastructure, with the country seeing prices double compared to last year.

Mitchell said Fremont, which purchases its gas from Northern Natural Gas, doesn’t profit from the gas it sells to customers.

“We are a direct pass through for gas,” she said. “What we purchase gas at is what we charge.”

According to the release, customers can take cost-saving steps this winter, including:

  • Lowering their thermostat by a couple of degrees or lowering their water heater temperature;
  • Keeping curtains open during the day to allow sunlight to heat the house, then closing them at night to keep the cold out;
  • Sealing up leaking doors and windows to prevent heat from escaping the house;
  • Making sure there is adequate insulation in the attic to prevent heat from escaping; and
  • Refraining from using gas fireplaces, as they are less efficient than gas-burning furnaces.

“Customers are going to see higher bills this winter because of that increased cost of gas, and we want it to be on people’s radars so they can plan ahead, try to take some energy efficiency steps if possible,” Mitchell said. “At the very minimum, they can keep it on their radar and maybe even be planning financially so that it doesn’t become a crisis when those higher bills hit.”

Oil companies still find it more convenient to burn away the gas, even though it could be used to generate electricity.

Baker Hughes posts adjusted fourth-quarter earnings that miss analysts’ forecasts as it continues to recover from a pandemic-induced slump in oil and gas prices.

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