As Two Harbors residents deal with natural gas price spike, city offers help | www.WDIO.com

As Two Harbors residents deal with natural gas price spike, city offers help

WDIO
Updated: March 15, 2021 09:18 PM
Created: March 15, 2021 08:14 PM

Many Two Harbors Utilities costumers have been receiving significantly larger than usual heating bills.

“Last year my bill was in the low two hundreds,” said Zach Anderson of Two Harbors, “I just got my bill last Friday and it’s almost $700."

Anderson said he was shocked and didn’t understand why his bill was so high.

He also voiced frustration with what he felt was a lack of transparency and outreach on the part of the city.

A joint statement put out by city officials provided some context for the increased prices.

“In mid-February 2021, energy markets across the middle of the U.S. experienced unprecedented pricing activity amid a major weather event that pushed Arctic air as far south as Texas. Natural gas pricing for delivery between February 12 and 17 was as high as $1,200 at hubs in Oklahoma, over $300 in Texas, and above $150 in the Upper Midwest,” read the statement. “The City of Two Harbors was affected by the unprecedented pricing activity. The cost of gas went from $5.63/mcf for January’s consumption to $21.16/mcf for February’s. An average household uses approximately 29,000 mcf of natural gas, utilizing the 2019 rate, the charge for gas would be $171.39, this year the same usage would cost $671.06.”

Mayor Chris Swanson, one of the officials who put out the statement, said he understands people’s frustrations.

The Two Harbors’ City Council is taking the following measures to try to help alleviate some of the financial stress:

  • Eliminate the City’s overhead portion of the natural gas rate for this billing period.
  • Allow for twelve months with no penalty for payment of the natural gas portion of this month’s bill.
  • Work with customers to establish a budget payment plan, for those who aren’t already on the budget plan.
  • Work with existing budget plan customers to make adjustments to existing payment plans.

Customers wishing to establish new, discuss or make adjustments to existing budget payment plans should contact City Hall via email at: info@twoharborsmn.gov, or by phone at: (218) 834-5631.

In addition, below is a list of other agencies who may be able to provide financial assistance, for those who qualify:

  • AEOA – Fuel Assistance, Phone: 1-800-662-5711 or 1-800-223-1850
  • Lake County Social Services Phone: (218)-834-8400
  • Salvation Army: (218) 722-7934
     

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