Published October 18, 2022
Rising energy costs have been big news across the world this year. As Minnesotans enter the heating season, it’s a concern here too. We’re not fans of sharing bad news, but many of us should expect noticeably higher heating costs this winter. Below are some highlights from the Winter Fuels Outlook provided by the U.S. Energy Information Agency. We’ve summarized forecasted propane, electricity, heating oil, and natural gas prices mostly specific to the Midwest.
During the 2021/2022 heating season, some fuel prices were the highest in 7 years, so when we talk about increases this year, it is on top of the higher prices many experienced last year.
First, let’s start with the not-so-bad news. Propane prices are not expected to change much compared to last year. Approximately 11% of Minnesota households, primarily in rural areas, use propane. Though the price isn’t projected to rise this year, propane is significantly more expensive than natural gas.
Approximately 17% of Minnesota homes use electricity to heat their homes. Retail prices of electricity across the Midwest are projected to rise on average by 5% compared to last year. In Minnesota, specifically, substantially larger rate increase requests are under consideration for Xcel Energy (which is requesting a 24% residential base rate increase between 2022-24) and Minnesota Power (requesting an 18% base rate increase in 2023). In addition to base rate increases, customers are likely to see continuing increases in the cost of fuel, which is generally charged directly to customers in a separate line item on bills.
The cost of heating oil across the US is expected to increase by approximately 16%. Historically this has been the most expensive heating fuel in Minnesota. About 1.5% of Minnesota households use heating oil.
Natural gas users, who comprise 66% of Minnesota households, will see the largest increase in their heating prices. The EIA is forecasting a 28% increase in the Midwest. Natural gas prices have been increasing for several months, though it will be the most noticeable once home heating starts in earnest.
The outside temperatures this winter will, of course, impact the extent to which consumers feel the anticipated price increases.
There is a lot you can do to manage your energy use while still staying comfortable this winter. Energy Assistance is now available for any household earning less than 50% of the state median income over the past three months: visit https://mn.gov/energyassistance to apply. Here are links to additional resources to help with bills and seasonal tips to help manage energy use.
CUB is here to help consumers navigate the changing energy environment. Please reach out with any questions or concerns by calling me at 651-300-4701 ext. 2, or by emailing me at email@example.com.