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DATE:  OCTOBER 20, 2004 
CONTACT:  SUE SCHAEFER (605) 773-3201


By simply clicking on, consumers will find energy conservation tips and information about natural gas prices for the upcoming heating season. Consumers will also find links to heating assistance programs that are available in South Dakota.

"We are all concerned about how high natural gas prices will rise during the next heating season," says PUC Chairman Bob Sahr. "The information we have gathered for our Web site will help consumers better understand their natural gas bills and how pricing for natural gas works."

"If you are someone who needs assistance in paying your heating bills, the PUC Web site also provides information about financial assistance programs that are available for low income households," adds Vice Chairman Gary Hanson. "Now is the time to find out what programs are available and submit your applications for assistance."

"The PUC urges consumers to read the energy conservation tips on our Web site and put those suggestions to good use. The time you take now to winterize your homes will pay huge dividends in what you pay for heating costs during this winter," advises Commissioner Jim Burg.

In addition to information about natural gas bills, energy saving techniques, and heating assistance programs, there are links to South Dakota natural gas utility Web sites. By visiting these Web sites, consumers can learn about bill averaging programs that are accessible to them from their utility companies. Bill averaging programs can help the consumers spread out or average their heating costs over a 12-month period. This can be a very useful tool and will help consumers stay within their budgets. These Web sites also give good advice on energy conservation techniques.

If you are a South Dakota consumer and have questions about your natural gas bill or other utility bills, please contact the PUC Consumer Protection staff at 1-800-332-1782. You can also contact the PUC via the Internet at