ST. LOUIS – With news of natural gas prices skyrocketing, Spire Missouri is urging customers to be ready for higher utility bills this winter.

“We have not seen these types of prices in over 10 years,” said Scott Weitzel, Spire Missouri’s vice president of regulatory and government affairs. “People are talking 30 to 40 percent increases. We’re hopeful, especially in Spire Missouri East, St. Louis area, those prices will be below some of these headlines that have been reported recently.”

Weitzel points to the Russian-Ukrainian war as one of the factors for the spike in natural gas prices this year. Russia is the world’s second largest natural gas producer and its largest exporter. The conflict created a crisis in the oil and gas markets. In October, Weitzel says Spire will file a purchase gas adjustment with the Missouri Public Service Commission.

“So even though prices have increased in the natural gas market, our customers have been insulated from that,” Weitzel said.

But that will soon change. Weitzel says the October filing with the Public Service Commission will seek to recover the difference in what Spire paid for gas versus what its customers paid. Last year’s purchase gas adjustment increased the typical residential customers bill nearly $14 a month. The dollar amount of this year’s adjustment is still unclear. The Public Service Commission has final approval.

“I’m expecting our customers to feel that impact probably sometime in December,” Weitzel said.

Spire says there are things we can all do to keep our bills as low as possible.

“Whether it’s weatherization, energy efficiency, customer programs, especially those customers that are most at risk, there’s a variety of tools that can help,” he said.