Prices are up across the board, and it should come as no surprise that Citizens Energy customers can expect to pay more to heat their homes this winter.

The utility company projects natural gas heating bills will see an average increase of $18 a month during the five-month winter heating season (November, December, January, February and March).

“Assuming temperatures are normal, Citizens estimates that the total average natural gas bill for the November through March heating season will be about $555, compared to $465 last winter,” the company said.

Citizens Energy said the increase stems from a rise in global energy prices, which have seen a sharp spike since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That has restricted the supply of natural gas in Europe, leading U.S. producers to export large quantities of liquefied natural gas overseas. Increased demand in the U.S., in turn, has constrained the supply.

The utility has tried to reduce the impact on customers by buying gas in advance of winter at fixed prices and using underground natural gas storage fields.

Citizens said some customers may be eligible for discounts through the Indiana Energy Assistance Program (EAP) or grants through the Warm Heart Warm Home Foundation.

The utility said enrolling in its budget plan, which spreads payments over 12 months, can also help reduce the immediate impact of the higher bills projected for the winter.

Customers can call Citizens at (317) 924-3311 to discuss budget billing or make flexible payment arrangements if they find themselves falling behind.

Customers for AES and Duke Energy are already feeling the squeeze after the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission approved rate hikes for both companies.