North Dakotans face high utility prices

Utility prices
Utility prices(KFYR)
Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 7:11 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - It’s a byproduct of living in North Dakota: the cost of heating your home goes up in the winter. But it might be a little bit harder to do this year.

January is typically the coldest month of the year in North Dakota. And with high utility costs, people could be paying some of the highest prices ever to heat their homes this winter. As for why that is, there are a number of reasons.

For starters, the price of gas is higher, and as it rises, so does the price of electricity. Something else that impacts home heating prices? Adding new generation and transmission lines to the power grid, which means every time a new wind farm or gas facility gets built, a big chunk of that is paid for by consumers.

“You’re seeing a massive buildout of new energy infrastructure and that drives prices up. So, that’s probably the second biggest reason why we’re seeing higher electricity prices and probably higher electricity prices for a good number of years to come,” said Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak.

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak says there’s another reason for high natural gas prices. Demand for gas diminished during the pandemic, which caused production to drop, and when demand started coming back up, production lagged, and it continues to lag even now, adding to high natural gas prices.

MDU Resources has about 130,000 natural gas customers around the state. In January 2022, a typical customer paid about $113. With the increase in natural gas commodity prices, MDU anticipates that the same customer will pay $132 dollars in January 2023.