Many Minnesota residents felt empathy towards the people of Texas dealing with snow, ice, freezing temperatures, no heat and  busted pipes, but this fluke storm could have a ripple effect on the wallet of some homeowners in the state.

We were experiencing our own deep freeze at the time as well putting a big strain on the natural gas supply. Per the Star Tribune  (paid subscription required) "CenterPoint Energy said the extra charges could range from $300 to $400 on average, with Xcel Energy predicting about a $250 to $300 hike, MERC $225 to $250, and Great Plains Gas around $200 to $300."

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US Senator Tina Smith said people in the Midwest who get their natural gas supply from smaller vendors may see a price increase of as much as $1,000. Minnesota Public Utilities Chair Katie Sieben said in a statement:

Our infrastructure provided warmth and electricity to Minnesotans throughout the severe weather event. We are just learning the economic fallout from this storm. As regulators, we will use every tool available to mitigate the impact to Minnesota utility customers. And, we will work cooperatively with state and federal partners to address the very real consequences this storm may have on utility customers’ pocketbooks. In the midst of this COVID pandemic, the last thing needed are additional bills hitting Minnesota families and businesses.

Both Governor Walz and Senator Smith said that they welcome an investigation by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to look into these gas price spikes. This time of year is always tough as far as utility bills and paying for heat, but then on top of that the ripple effect of weather not even in our state causing gas bills here to increase. Hopefully if gas bills do spike in different parts of the state the utility companies will let customers make some type of payments in the process.

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