North Dakota Public Service Commissioner: prepare for "significantly higher home heating costs this winter"

(Fargo, ND) -- There is bad news when it comes to the cost of heating your home.

"Unfortunately, I think customers do need to be prepared for pretty significantly higher home heating costs this winter," said Julie Fedorchak, Public Service Commissioner for the State of North Dakota. 

Fedorchak says prices for natural gas for most utility customers in North Dakota will be 20 to 30 percent higher this year. That's based on her conversations with officials at Xcel Energy and Montana-Dakota Utilities, the state's two largest natural gas providers. She says the driving factors are supply not keeping pace with increased demand for gas, and investments gas providers are making in new transmission lines connected to renewable energy sources including solar and wind power.  

Unfortunately, Fedorchak says rate hikes won't be limited to natural gas. 

"I think electricity prices will also be up for those who are using electricity to heat their homes or just for your average electricity use, electric costs will also be higher," said Fedorchak.

The commissioner appeared on "What's on Your Mind" on AM 1100 The Flag.