Hoosiers brace for big spike in heating bills

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 3, 2014) — With a brutally cold January behind them, Hoosiers now have to brace for the heating bill.

Citizens Energy Group is mailing out its next bills on Thursday, Feb. 6, and spokesperson Sarah Holsapple said customers should expect an increase.

“The average cost in 2013 of the January bill was about $130 for customers and we’re anticipating in January 2014 that that cost is going to be about $180,” Holsapple told FOX59 News.

Holsapple said much of that rise is due to increased use, with Citizens reporting it delivered 9.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas during the month, up 26 percent from January 2013.

For its part, Vectren also warned its customers of the coming bill.  Vectren said its average customer spent $130 in January 2013 and could expect $160 for this January.

The other reason for the higher bill is an increase in the price of natural gas.

With prices up slightly from January 2013, both Citizens and Vectren stressed in their public statements that natural prices are actually still lower over the long run, with Citizens citing 2008 prices.

Both companies also expressed a desire to help customers who may have trouble paying for the coming heating bill.

To apply for assistance, Citizens Energy Group customers can call 317-924-3311 and Vectren customers can call 1-800-227-1376.