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It's not the news Minnesotans wanted to hear as we inch closer to winter, but we could be paying the most ever to heat our homes this year.

Inflation and rising prices have impacted just about every aspect of our lives here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes these days. Just about EVERYTHING seems to cost more these days, and now there's the sobering news that we'll all be paying more to keep our homes warm this winter.

We'd heard in September that things weren't looking good for keeping inflation under control when it comes to home heating costs. KARE-11 reported that natural gas prices had hit a 14-year high this summer, leading some electric bills in parts of Minnesota to increase by over 15 percent.

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Rochester On Tap, Townsquare Media Event

That's not good news if you use natural gas to heat your home (as nearly two-thirds of Minnesotans do) during those long winter months. And now comes word that we'll likely feel a similar pain when we open ALL our energy bills this winter.

The Citizen's Utility Board of Minnesota (CUB) is a nonprofit group formed in 2016 to advocate for Minnesota’s utility consumers. Annie Levenson-Falk is CUB's executive director, and she told MPR recently that prices for natural gas, fuel oil, propane and electricity, are all expected to increase this year.

"Across the board, you should expect those prices to be higher this winter,” Levenson-Folk said in the MPR story.

Some energy providers in Minnesota say we can look forward to bills that are anywhere from 10 to 15 percent higher than last year-- a year in which prices had already increased significantly over previous years.

What's behind these rising prices? The continuing war in Ukraine is a big factor, MPR said in the story. It noted that Russia is a big natural gas provider and its ongoing actions have led to instability in the energy market-- which then drives up prices for you and me.

The state of Minnesota DOES offer some protection, though: The 'cold weather rule' prohibits utilities from shutting off customers' electric or natural gas service between Oct. 1 through April 30th.  And, Minnesota's Energy Assistance program can help pay for utility costs this winter, if your household is eligible.

Listen to Curt St. John in the Morning
Weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. on Quick Country 96.5

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