JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – As cold temperatures approach Mississippi, CenterPoint Energy announced customers will see an incremental increase in their natural gas bills when compared to those of last year due primarily to natural gas market conditions.

They said customers can take advantage of CenterPoint Energy’s array of payment assistance options as well as energy-saving tips to help mitigate the impact to bills.

The average CenterPoint Energy customer bill in Mississippi is expected to be roughly $70, based on annual usage for natural gas service. This represents about a $20 increase over last year’s average bill where the increase is primarily due to the rise in cost of natural gas.

“We recognize that our customers have concerns about their heating bills this winter, mainly due to the higher market prices of natural gas,” said Tony Gardner, Vice President, Louisiana and Mississippi Gas. “While the cost of natural gas makes up the largest portion of a customer’s monthly heating bill, the price we pay in the market for natural gas is the same price we charge our customers – with no markup.”

CenterPoint Energy also encourages customers to utilize the following resources should they need bill assistance or energy savings tips.

  • Federal Utility Assistance Dollars: Those needing bill assistance should determine if they qualify for federal utility assistance dollars through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). In Mississippi, LIHEAP funds are administered through the Mississippi Department of Human Services’ Division of Community Services. Assistance is administered through subrecipients across the state. Visit https://www.mdhs.ms.gov/community-services/liheap/.
  • Due Date Extension and Payment Arrangement: These are two free offerings which are available to customers in need of a special payment plan on a temporary basis in order to keep service connected and manage energy costs.
  • Residential Rebate Program – CenterPoint Energy residential and small business customers can receive rebates for choosing high-efficiency natural gas equipment. Heating or plumbing professionals can help customers find the qualifying equipment that fits their needs. Home appliance rebates exist for water heats, heating systems and smart thermostats. Visit https://www.centerpointenergy.com/en-us/residential/save-energy-money/efficiency-programs-and-rebates?sa=ms.
  • Energy Efficiency Tips: CenterPoint Energy offers energy efficiency tips and energy-saving tools to help customers lower their natural gas bills. Visit www.centerpointenergy.com/en-us/residential/save-energy-money/efficiency-tips-and-tools).
  • Budget Bill: Under this billing plan, a customer’s estimated costs for a year of gas service are spread in equal monthly bill amounts for the year. This leveling of monthly bill amounts reduces the need to pay the full amount in the winter and spreads some of those higher bill charges into the non-heating months. Amounts are adjusted each summer for actual costs, and the customer’s credit or amount due rolls into the next Budget Bill payment for the next 12-month period. Customers can enroll for free on www.centerpointenergy.com or by calling 1-800-227-1376.

“We recognize the financial hardships our customers may be facing this heating season, and we want to encourage them to contact us for options to assist in managing costs prior to their first high bill of the heating season,” said Gardner. “We are committed to helping our customers manage their bills to ease the impact of higher energy costs.”