Montana PSC: Home heating prices could skyrocket this winter

Home heating costs for Montanans are expected to increase this winter, the state’s utility regulator announced Tuesday.

Rising natural gas prices could boost heating bills by as much as 62%, according to the Montana Public Service Commission. The commission is recommending that customers of NorthWestern Energy, Montana Dakota Utilities and Energy West consider spreading winter heating costs across the entire year through monthly averaging.

The announcement comes three days after the federal Energy Information Administration forecasted higher winter heating prices for every region of the United States. The winter heating period begins Oct. 1 and ends March 31.

“We expect that the nearly half of U.S. households that heat primarily with natural gas will spend 30% more than they spent last winter on average — 50% more if the winter is 10% colder than average and 22% more if the winter is 10% warmer than average,” the EIA reported.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects natural gas prices to increase as much as 20% in the West this winter, possibly more if winter is colder than average. The Montana Public Service Commission is advising Montanans to expect increases as high

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