Springfield utility issues alert as temperatures plummet, gas prices spike

Due to frigid temperatures across the Midwest, demand for natural gas is spiking, affecting supply across the region. Daily natural gas spot prices have soared, and local utilities are taking action as service is threatened.

In Springfield, City Utilities issued a “peak usage alert” on Saturday, saying extreme cold was causing natural gas wells to freeze, thus limiting supply for the region.

This has caused the market price for natural gas to shift from $3 to nearly $400 per dekatherm, a unit of measure commonly used for natural gas.

City Utilities said it was working on an agreement with customers who have the ability to make a switch from natural gas to an alternative fuel source.

City Utilities also said it had activated its Natural Gas Peak Shaving System for the first time, pumping a combination of propane and air through the natural gas transmission system to help with peak demand.

The utility also asked customers to turn down thermostats and water heaters, limit the use of natural gas fireplaces and take other steps to reduce consumption of natural gas and electricity.

“We are asking our community to work together, as we have so many times in the past, to get through this peak period with as minimal impact as possible,” Gary Gibson, City Utilities general manager and CEO, said in a release.

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