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As you may have seen in recent news coverage, natural gas prices are at a 13-year high. Prices are expected to continue to remain higher this winter due to supply availability and rising demand. Since natural gas customers increase usage during these upcoming cold months, Waukee gas customers will likely see an increase to upcoming utility bills.
The current market situation has increased the cost for the City of Waukee’s Gas Utility to purchase the natural gas it delivers to customers. While City officials are doing everything feasible to minimize costs, customers should prepare now for higher monthly heating bills this winter.
“The City strategically purchases a portion of the City’s average monthly gas usage in advance to ensure our rates are as low as possible,” said Waukee Public Works Director Rudy Koester. “Unfortunately, the higher market prices right now will affect our customers’ gas supply charge, which is the direct cost of the natural gas the customer uses without any mark-up by the City.”
Market price fluctuations do affect rates, which also include fixed administrative costs, as well as costs associated with maintaining and operating the existing gas utility system safely. Actual bill impacts will vary by customer due to usage as temperatures get colder and market prices continue to fluctuate.
Here are some helpful steps customers can take to help reduce energy use and save on monthly bills:
New Opportunities offers weatherization assistance for those who cannot afford and/or physically perform the above tasks. Call 515-465-5185 for more information.
The City of Waukee offers its Budget Billing program to help customers ease bill fluctuations, especially during the cold months. The program is free for customers and stabilizes utility charges that vary by changing seasons and different energy usage patterns. Customers can enroll by calling the Utility Billing Department at 515-978-5502. This is open to utility customers who have been living at their current address for at least one year, regardless of income.
The City encourages any customer facing financial hardship to communicate with the Waukee Utility Billing Department to discuss options and potential assistance. Payment plans can be discussed by calling the department at 515-978-5502.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps qualifying low-income homeowners and renters pay for a portion of their primary heating costs for the winter heating season. This program is not designed to pay a household’s total energy costs, but to provide assistance in the payment of residential heating costs. For more information, please call 515-465-5185 to schedule an appointment with New Opportunities. Eligibility requirements can be found on the Iowa Department of Human Rights website.
Waukee Area Christian Services can also provide assistance to those who qualify. Staff can be reached on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 515-987-5523.