Learn about the natural gas providers and rates in Illinois.
Is there natural gas in Illinois?
Although Illinois doesn't produce much natural gas, its location makes it a prime hub for transporting natural gas.
Illinois is home to several interstate natural gas pipelines and two immense natural gas market centers. Since the state is located near large natural gas-producing states like Missouri, Iowa, and Indiana, much of the natural gas produced in those states go through Illinois to help natural gas transport reach other parts.
Because of this fact, Illinois stores over one trillion cubic feet, or 10% of the U.S.'s natural gas supply in a network of natural gas storage fields. In the state alone, there are 28 large storage fields. Natural gas is stored here and then sent east and north to supply other states with the resource1.
Who provides natural gas in Illinois?
There are over 19 public utility companies in the state of Illinois and over 75 energy providers.
In Illinois, a public utility company is directly responsible for any plant, equipment, or property used to create, store, transmit, and deliver heating, cooling, power, electricity, water or light. Utility companies are also responsible for the conveyance of oil or gas by pipeline and for all the natural gas infrastructure used to transmit natural gas through the state. If something should happen to cause any of the infrastructure to malfunction, then the public utility is responsible for reconnecting the service to end-users promptly2.
On the other hand, the energy provider in a deregulated state is responsible for selling the energy source. In this case, the sale of natural gas, the customer service, and the determination of prices. Energy providers purchase wholesale natural gas on the open market and then turn around and sell it to end-users at a price they set. The price is chosen through the competition in the free market of all the energy providers located in Illinois. The customer enters into a contract with the energy provider at their set rates and contract lengths. On the expiration of the agreement, the customer can change providers or renew their contract at a new price3.
How much does natural gas cost in Illinois?
The price of natural gas in Illinois is determined by the energy provider and where the customer resides. The cost of natural gas also is different for whether it is intended for residential, commercial, or industrial use.
Here are some state averages for the year 2020:
- Residential price: $7.94
- Commercial price: $6.85
- Industrial price: $5.24
The prices above represent averages for the entire state for all energy providers.
How much is natural gas per month in Illinois?
The average monthly gas bill in the state of Illinois is around $83 per month. This average accounts for winter months when gas heating bills are at their highest. Even if people use gas in the summer to cool their homes, the price of the average gas bill in the summer months is much smaller than the cold, harsh winter months that hit the state of Illinois each year4.
Who is the natural gas provider in Chicago?
When it comes to the natural gas public utility in Chicago, the utility company is called Peoples Gas. If you have an interruption to your service or need to have gas lines marked in your yard before digging, Peoples Gas is who you need to call. If you have any emergencies or are concerned about gas leak safety and prevention, you can either go to their website or call. Do not call your natural gas energy provider in the event of an emergency. All things related to natural gas infrastructure and equipment go through the public utility5.
How much is the average gas bill in Chicago?
As of May 2021, the average gas bill in Chicago was somewhere around $96.99 per month. Chicago is a windy city, and the winters can be brutal, so expect higher gas bills in the winter months, or choose an energy provider who allows you to prorate your gas bill to maintain similar gas charges throughout the year6.
Why is natural gas so expensive in Illinois?
The recent surge in natural gas prices in 2021 was partially the result of extreme weather that hit large parts of the country, including Illinois, in February. Many natural gas wells froze in that region because of the severe weather that hit Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. The deep freeze caused the U.S. natural gas supply to decrease while demand increased dramatically. The result was a dramatic increase in wholesale prices that affected consumers. A few energy providers saw price increases of around 9.6%, while some saw gas prices that increased closer to 84% on the end of the spectrum7.
Aside from single extreme weather events like what happened in February of 2021, Illinois has a climate that requires heating to sustain frigid temperatures. In addition, since Illinois does not produce any natural gas itself, even though they are a significant player in the transmission of natural gas through its network of pipelines, it may still pay higher wholesale prices than other states.
Are natural gas prices going up in Illinois?
Because of the extreme weather events in February of 2021, prices may continue to be higher through the rest of the year. However, it is hard to know 100%. The only recent event that Illinois has to compare it to is the polar vortex of 2019. When looking at how the polar vortex affected natural gas prices, prices skyrocketed similarly and did not go down much, even by August, when natural gas use was lower. Sometimes when a significant enough event occurs like these two, there can be drastic implications for quite a while as the market tries to recover.
If you are worried about your gas bill, the only thing you can do is conserve gas as much as possible and make sure your place of residence is well insulated. Drafts are a large contributor to heat loss that reduces your furnaces' heating efficiency. Also, now would be an excellent time to clean and replace your air filters if you have a forced-air heating system.
Can I choose my natural gas provider?
Illinois is a deregulated energy market, meaning you have the right to select an alternative energy source rather than going through the public utility in your area. However, you should shop around and check out what different energy providers may offer in terms of contract and pricing. Sometimes, your public utility could be the more economical option depending on where you live. Remember that the responsibilities of your public utility are much different than an alternative energy supplier, so be sure you are aware of the difference and who you need to contact to help with different types of services.
How do I choose a natural gas supplier in Illinois?
Residents of Illinois have the option to choose their natural gas provider. While this can work to your advantage, having many options can also complicate things. Of course, you will want to compare prices, but you may also want to consider environmental factors and company values. If you are looking for a clean energy supplier in the Illinois area, you should consider Inspire. As an Inspire subscriber, you can access clean energy for one flat monthly price.
So how does it work?
To get started, visit our homepage and enter your address and/or ZIP Code. Discover the beginning of consistent and predictable monthly energy bills when you become an Inspire member.