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Natural gas bills are higher, but not due to war in Ukraine

Feb. 9. By Dave Vieser. If you haven’t opened your natural gas bill, you may be in for a bit of a shock: Piedmont Natural Gas bills are up, on average, about $11 a month, thanks to a rate hike.

Piedmont, which is owned by Duke Energy, estimates that the typical residential customer’s average monthly bill will total about $77.77 going forward. The increase is the result of negotiations with the NC Utilities Commission which gave final approval to Piedmont’s rate hike request.

Explanation, sort of

Customers looking for an explanation of the increase on their bills, however, will be out of luck. The only reference to the higher rate is a legalistic one sentence “message for our customer” at the top of the bill:

“Your bill includes a rate increase of $0.00266 per therm (Docket No. G-9, Sub 786 and G-9, Sub 781.”

We decided to ask Piedmont why they didn’t outline the rate hike in plain English, so that homeowners might understand.

The response: “Beginning last fall, we started communicating with customers about impacts to their bills and the several factors playing a role in why customers are seeing an increase in their natural gas bills.”


Utility experts said gas prices rose due to a cold 2020-21 winter, as well as persistently strong power sector demand during a warmer than average summer. Overall natural gas prices have also increased.

None of these factors have anything to do with the war under way in Ukraine.