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Ameren Illinois, village of Morton asking customers to conserve energy amid frigid temps

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UPDATE (5:47 p.m.) -- Officials in Morton say natural gas bills could be five times as high as in a normal February.

And while turning down the thermostat to 68 degrees may not seem like an attractive option, village officials say you are actually doing yourself a favor.

"Right now, it is important that they know, that while we want to stay warm, now's a the time to conserve," Morton Director of Public Works Craig Loudermilk said.

Morton operates the largest municipal gas company in Illinois with over 6,000 meters served. Issues in the supply chain from Texas are causing unprecedented natural gas price hikes.

Morton has spent the same amount of money on natural gas in the last five days than they normally do in a whole year.

"This is a widespread issue, especially for the small municipals," Loudermilk said. "Situations like this make it hard for the small guy to take care of the community."


(WEEK) -- Energy supplier Ameren Illinois is asking its customers to conserve energy as cold weather persists throughout the Midwest.

In a press release sent out Monday, Ameren officials said, "Due to the winter storms and sub-zero temperatures across the Midwest, the demand for natural gas is peaking. As a result, Ameren Illinois is urging its customers to manage their energy usage."

In Morton, village officials are asking customers of Morton Gas to bring their thermostats down below 68 degrees and are asking industrial and commercial businesses to consider stopping production.

"Natural gas processing plants are losing power which in turn reduces the amount of natural gas available to pipelines serving the entire Midwest. Prices will remain at extremely high levels for the next few days and literally could be 100 – 300 times the normal price or more," a Facebook post from the village read.

Other states across the South and Midwest have been faced with rolling blackouts by other energy suppliers as electric grids faced "overwhelming demand," the Associated Press reported earlier.

Eastern Kansas and western Missouri saw 30-60 minute blackouts Monday in effort to conserve energy, while Texas was under the same conditions.

Although snowfall came to a halt early Tuesday morning in central Illinois, temperatures will remain low, topping out at around 13 degrees by midday.

For continued weather coverage, follow the 25 Weather Tracker team.

Ameren Illinois provided tips on how you can conserve energy throughout the cold spell:

  • Take advantage of the sun. Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day, and close them at night.
  • Cover drafty windows.
  • Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable.
  • When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat down.
  • Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning.
  • When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox.
  • Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting.

Drew Veskauf

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Alex Gaul

Alex Gaul joined WEEK 25 News and Heart of Illinois ABC in January 2021 as a Multimedia Journalist. He formerly worked for KPNX-TV and KAET-TV, both in Phoenix, Arizona. The Illinois-native is an alum of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

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