Natural Gas Pricing
Rock Energy is aware that some of our members are concerned about the most recent bills they have received because of the extreme cold weather in February that sent market prices – and ultimately bills – up.
To address this issue, Rock Energy has decreased the number of days billed on some of our members’ bills. By doing this, the bill amount is less than what it would have been using a normal billing cycle (normally you are billed for 30 days of energy use per bill). The usage days that have been removed from the current bill will be spread across future bills over the next few months.
Rest assured, Rock Energy is willing to work with any member that needs to make alternative payment arrangements. If you have any questions about your bill, you can contact Rock Energy at 866-752-4550 to speak with one of our Member Services Representatives who can discuss the best assistance or payment plan option for you. We are working with members on an individual, case-by-case basis.
As a not-for-profit distribution cooperative, Rock Energy purchases natural gas from suppliers and delivers it to members. The cost of natural gas is a pass-through to members; the co-op does not set the purchase price that is paid for gas or add a mark-up.
Rock Energy has been and will continue to communicate with members about any updates and/or changes regarding the current situation through email, our print newsletter and magazine, and on our web site. If you do not receive our email communications, please send us your email address. Through our emails, we inform members about events like this, and provide information about energy-saving, safety, co-op events, planned events, and other details provided in a timely manner. If you would like to provide us with your email address, call us at 866-752-4550. Or, go to www.rock.coop and click Contact Us.
What is the Current Situation?
As you probably saw on the news in February, during the height of the natural gas shortage, market prices hit record prices due to the extreme cold and ice, but temperatures have gone back up and the market price of gas has settled down. Due to the spike in natural gas prices last week, for residential accounts, Rock Energy will be decreasing the number of consumption days billed for upcoming bill cycles for our South Beloit, Lake Summerset and Rockton area members. This will help to spread the cost increase over a longer period of time, so the increase isn’t on just one bill. Once bills have been issued, Rock Energy will work with members to create reasonable payment arrangements.
Due to the colder weather in February, pipeline companies declared an emergency and placed a restriction on the pipelines. The unprecedented cold caused natural gas and oil wells to “freeze in” not allowing pumping to the pipeline, and at the exact same time, demand from homes and businesses was significantly above normal levels. This is something that happened all over the Midwest and the southern mid-plains, thus anyone served off of the same pipelines was in a similar situation as Rock Energy members. The extreme cold affected the electric market as well. In many parts of the country there was snow covering solar projects and the wind was either low, or as was the case in the far northern climates, some of the wind turbines were too cold to operate, which placed additional pressure for natural gas fired generators to supply the electric load. In turn, this caused additional strain on both gas and electric systems.
Will My Rock Energy Bill Go Up?
Yes, your next bill will very likely go up. The cost of natural gas to our members is a “pass-thorough” cost. This means that whatever it costs to procure and transport natural gas to our members determines the monthly gas rate seen on your monthly bill. This average “rate” changes every month. With the current situation as volatile as it is, we don't know exactly by how much bills will rise, but with the usage going up and record high daily prices, the increase may be substantial. Once billings are issued, if necessary, Rock Energy will assist members with reasonable payment arrangements.
Will Electricity Costs Go Up Too?
We are uncertain at this time if electric costs will increase. We are hopeful that electric costs will remain fairly stable in spite of large natural gas price increases. Should we become aware that electric prices will increase significantly, we will post relevant information on our website.
Illinois Disaster Proclamation issued by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker (issued the week of Feb. 14-20):