Centerpoint says February gas crisis will cost Minnesota customers extra $354

There was extreme demand for gas due to historic cold in the central United States.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Minnesota's largest gas utility Centerpoint Energy has said the energy crisis caused by the February cold snap will see an extra $354 added to bills in the state.

In a filling to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Centerpoint said the "extraordinary" market conditions in February cost the company $500 million between Feb. 12-22 just to maintain the gas supply for its Minnesota customers.

With the deep freeze also hitting states that are not used to it – such as Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas – the demand for gas for heating and electricity skyrocketed. Gas supplies also throttled by the shutdown of plants and production operations in the south, which were unable to withstand the frigid conditions.

Centerpoint says in its filing that it was typically paying under $3 per dekatherm (Dth) in February, but these spot prices spiked on Feb. 12, and peaked at $231 Dth between Feb. 13 and 16. The highest spot prices Centerpoint had previously paid for in recent years was $67 Dth in December 2017.

Screen Shot 2021-03-17 at 10.05.10 AM

The $500 million cost, it says, "represents approximately 156% of the company's total gas costs during the entire prior gas year," which ended June 30.

As a result, the company says it needs to recover some of these costs from its 879,000 Minnesota customers, at an average of $354 per customer, and that's before interest.

This would represent more than a 50% increase in an annual gas bill, which typically average out over the course of a year at $672, according to the Star Tribune.

To soften the blow for consumers, the company wants to spread recouping the costs over the course of two years starting in May, which would peak with an extra $30-a-month added to residential bills between May and November 2022, when gas usage tends to be lower, and $15-a-month for low income customers.

Screen Shot 2021-03-17 at 10.06.03 AM

"The February market conditions were extraordinary, and as a result, so were the costs incurred," the filing says.

"We appreciate the Commission’s attention to this matter and believe that an approved recovery plan will help our customers understand and plan for the resulting impacts. This proposal is meant to smooth cost recovery over time so customers do not incur dramatic changes to their natural gas bill."

Next Up

Eype1UCW8AcXU8j

St. Cloud State blanked by UMass in national championship game

Minnesota had three teams in the Frozen Four but didn't claim the national title.

BLM mural in West St. Paul.

Minnesotan's fight to save his BLM mural gets international coverage

West St. Paul told Ryan Weyandt the art violates city code.

Alex Rodriguez

Reports: Alex Rodriguez part of group finalizing deal to buy Wolves, Lynx

The former MLB will become part-owner of the Wolves and Lynx.

snow, slush (submitted photo, ok to use)

Accumulating snow expected in parts of Minnesota on Monday

Far northwestern Minnesota stands the best chance for higher snow totals.

Screen Shot 2021-04-10 at 1.53.51 PM

Police looking for 'person of interest' in connection to woman's killing

The public is advised to avoid approaching him and to call 911.

covid, vaccine

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Saturday, April 10

Cases and hospitalizations have been on the rise in Minnesota.

Gabe Kalscheur

Gabe Kalscheur announces he's transferring to Iowa State

The former Gopher guard entered the transfer portal last month.

Walz

Asked about restrictions, Walz says Minnesota is in a 'hold pattern'

Meanwhile, the governor of Michigan is urging people to stay home to slow the spread.

walz and zapko

Watch: Beloved MN sign language interpreter profiled on Today Show

Nic Zapka's work made her an internet celebrity last year.

White Bear Lake Area High School

White Bear Lake students hold walkout over racist social media comments

School officials are investigating the anonymous Instagram account.

Related

CenterPoint customers in Paynesville were without gas overnight

A construction worker hit a gas line, cutting the city's supply.

CenterPoint wants to offer 'renewable' gas in MN, but what is it?

The utility argues it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Proposed Centerpoint price hike would increase gas bills by 8.7%

The utility says the extra money would be used to invest in its pipeline system.

CenterPoint's $47M refund errors saw thousands hit with fees

The gas and electricity provider blundered when trying to refund customers who were overcharged.

Xcel Energy gas customers: You can put the heat above 63 again

The utility asked people to turn their thermostats down due to strain on its gas system.

thermostat

Historic cold in south could add 'up to $400' to Minnesotans' gas bills

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has launched an investigation into the gas spike.

UPDATE: Xcel now telling ALLĀ gas customers to turn down the heat

There's a strain on the natural gas system, Xcel Energy says.