SIUE lowers thermostats in response to surging natural gas prices


EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE officials were hit with an unpleasant surprise when they discovered the cost of natural gas units skyrocketed over the weekend.

“Typically, we pay $3 a dekatherm but that price went up to $130 a dekatherm,” said Vice Chancellor for Administration Morris Taylor.

The cost has since gone down. The university lowered building thermostats to 68 degrees to try and offset the spike. That’s 2 to 4 degrees lower than normal. 

The university purchases its natural gas on the open market. That’s one reason the price spiked for SIUE. A major surge in demand due to extreme cold temperatures and frozen natural gas fields in other parts of the country have led to an increase in prices. The university is examining its process for purchasing natural gas in the future.  

“What we’re trying to do right now is to rethink some of our operations to put us in less liability,” Taylor said. 

Ameren Illinois purchases approximately 30 percent of its natural gas on the open market, meaning its customers are not expected to see the type of increase SIUE experienced. 

“We actually buy gas in the summertime and put it in underground storage sites in Illinois,” said Eric Kozak, vice president of natural gas operations for Ameren Illinois. 

Those 12 storage fields help the company bolster its supply. 

“We take that gas out in the winter when the prices tend to be higher so we can keep the prices down for our customers,” Kozak said.

He encourages customers to conserve but does not expect Ameren Illinois customers to see the type of skyrocketing prices other parts of the country could experience.

“They will see an increase,” Kozak said. “But it won’t be dramatic like we’re seeing on some of the other newscasts.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.


Latest News

More News