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CenterPoint Energy warns of significant increase in winter heating bills

CenterPoint said the increase is due to higher global demands and lower production.

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Some natural gas providers are warning customers to expect a significant increase in their winter heating bills.  

CenterPoint Energy said customers can expect to pay on average $130 a month, from November through March.  

CenterPoint said last year's average bill for the same period was $88 a month.

"In the event we experience normal winter weather this heating season, coupled with a significant increase in natural gas prices, customers should expect an increase in their bills," said Richard Leger, the vice president of natural gas distribution in Indiana and Ohio. "Even with higher natural gas prices this winter heating season, bills should still remain lower than customers experienced in the late 2000s when prices for natural gas were at record levels nationwide."

CenterPoint said the increase is due to higher global demands and lower production.  

Formerly known as Vectren, CenterPoint provides natural gas to a large part of central and northern Indiana.

RELATED: Small Indiana towns hit hard with February natural gas price spike

Citizens Energy Group, which provides natural gas to most of Indianapolis, said their winter heating costs are only expected to increase by an average of $10 per month from November through March.

Citizens said they have been able to shield customers from much of the impact through various measures including use of its underground natural gas storage fields, price hedging contracts with suppliers and long-term gas supply contracts with discounts to market prices.

"While we are projecting a small increase in gas bills, we know many customers are still struggling financially due to the ongoing economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. That's why we are increasing our efforts to identify and assist customers in need through our Warm Heart Warm Home Foundation and other sources," said Jeffrey Harrison, Citizens president and CEO.

RELATED: Natural gas heating your home? This could be the most expensive winter in 13 years