BUTTE, Mont. - In recognition of Energy Awareness Month, NorthWestern Energy is telling its natural gas customers about the upcoming winter heating season and urging all customers to act now to prepare for cold weather.

Across the country, natural gas prices are expected to be approximately 15 percent to 20 percent higher this winter compared to last. Utilities in Montana, including NorthWestern Energy, adjust their natural gas prices on a monthly basis depending on actual market conditions. Natural gas prices are following the same upward trend as other fossil fuels. According to the Energy Information Association, the increased prices are due to higher demand relative to supply.

While customers cannot control the price they pay for natural gas, they can control how much natural gas they use, said NorthWestern. And since natural gas prices are a national problem that requires a national solution, customers should realize that information and education are important tools for saving energy and money, the company said.

Publication date: 10/25/2004