Wheaton stays competitive with gas prices

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Natural gas rates lowered in city

The city of Wheaton approved to lower its natural gas rates for residents and poultry farmers.

Jerry Swartz, Wheaton natural gas consultant, said he has been consulting the city of Wheaton on gas for more than 20 years.

“Lowering the natural gas rates puts it even with the propane prices over the summer,” he said. “I have been pushing to have the rates lowered for a couple of years.”

The rates went from $9.50 to $9 for residential and from $8.50 to $8.25 for poultry farms.

“They had been at the previous rates since 2016,” Swartz said. “Lowering the rates is a morality booster for the community. It shows them that the city is looking out for the customer.”

According to Swartz, natural gas is probably the largest revenue source for the city of Wheaton.

“I am confident that the coast of natural gas won’t change drastically any time soon,” he said. “We have already purchased the gas for the winter from our contact supplier.”

The gas is contracted out until March 2024 at the current rates, so that will keep the city’s cost flat over the next few years.

“The last couple of years, the gas prices have come down,” Swartz said. “Also, the economy during COVID-19 affected oil prices.

“There is no competition between oil and gas, but when they are looking for oil, a lot of times they fine natural gas.”

This means without trying, they are increasing the supply of natural gas, and currently there just happens to be an abundance of both.

“Winters haven’t been extreme for the last few years,” Swartz said. “This also helps to keep the prices lower as natural gas price is based on the heating demand in the winter.”

Seasonal temperatures affect the demand and prices of natural gas.

“In Wheaton, the majority of the revenue brought in from natural gas, is brought in by the poultry farms,” he said.

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