Natural Gas Rising
Tula and the rest of the Enwise family are enduring a day of cold while replacing their old furnance with a new, high-efficiency one.
"The new furnance that we're getting is 90% efficient, which is a big difference because the price of natural gas is going up," says Kathleen Eswine.
Houses that install high-efficiency furnances should save money in the long run, despite rising natural gas prices. But how much gas you use is not the only factor in your heating bill.
"We have certain fixed costs that are not dependant on usage," Ameren spokesperson Mike Cleary said. "I mean, we have to maintain those pipes whether you use one cubic foot of gas or 100 cubic feet of gas."
New state legislation takes effect Jan. 1 to let gas companies add a surcharge when gas useage is low.
"To the degree that customer usage varies significantly due to weather or conservation efforts, this could provide for a surcharge mechanism," explained Warren Wood, PSC Utility Operations division director.
The Public Service Commission says customers won't see a change in how prices are set until next winter. It recommends customers be more efficient in using energy to reduce bills as much as possible.