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With temperatures down, utility bills to go up in Omaha area

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A sun dog is seen near Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park in Council Bluffs Iowa as the low temperature was 23 degrees below zero on Tuesday.

The record-breaking cold that descended on the Omaha area has led to an increase in natural gas usage and an expected increase in utility bills.

Metropolitan Utilities District gas customers have used about 50% more natural gas on average to heat their homes and businesses during the cold snap, according to Tracey Christensen, an MUD spokeswoman.

Because of the increase in usage, MUD estimates that the average residential customer could see an additional $17.21 on their February bill, a cost that could have been much higher if not for cost-saving moves made by the utilities district, Christensen said.

Stored liquefied natural gas and propane owned by the district delivered nearly 40% of natural gas demand to MUD customers between Feb. 11 and Feb. 16. Because natural gas didn’t have to be purchased during the time of record high prices, MUD avoided much higher costs.

“We are sensitive to the fact that during already very challenging times, the increased usage driven by this unprecedented cold snap will increase customer bills,” Christensen said, but if the natural gas needed had been purchased instead of supplied from storage, the increase would have been in excess of $200.

Residential customers in need of financial assistance can apply to the Nebraska Energy Assistance Program online at, or can call ACCESSNebraska at 402-595-1258.

Customers who are not eligible to receive assistance through the state program can call 402-554-6666 or visit the MUD Home Fund at The fund was established to assist customers suffering financial hardships.

Record-breaking cold temperatures hit Nebraska, 402-444-1067


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Jessica Wade covers breaking news, crime and the Omaha zoo. Follow her on Twitter @Jess_Wade_OWH. Phone: 402-444-1067

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