LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — It’s the last thing consumers want to hear during the winter, but energy prices are on the rise.

More than 100 million people are under winter weather alerts, and that will lead to supply-and-demand issues for natural gas as many Americans will crank up the heat.

Some local residents are upset about the higher bills. Many Southwest Gas customers were taken aback by their bill. Some said the price doubled or tripled their normal amount – even though their usage didn’t.

Southwest Gas issued a warning back in November about this. They said the cost for natural gas was expected to go up this winter, and it did.

It soared 16% on Wednesday, closing at a high not seen since last November.

Analysts blame this spike on forecasts for upcoming major storms that are expected to bring snow and ice to much of the U.S.

Local resident Ashley Vidoli said the price hike made a big impact on her budget.

There are ways to help keep costs down.

Southwest gas recommends setting your daytime thermostat between 65 and 68 degrees and lowering it at night. Change and clean your air filters on a regular basis, and seal any cracks or leaks around doors or windows. These steps can help keep warm air inside.

The following statement was sent by Southwest Gas regarding the matter.

“Southwest Gas (Company) understands customers may be experiencing natural gas bills which are higher than expected.  The increase in customer bills is likely due to natural gas price increases between 2020 and 2021 as well as increased natural gas usage during the winter months. Southwest Gas purchases natural gas on behalf of its customers, with no profit to the Company. Money saving conservation tips can be found on the Company’s website at Southwest Gas also encourages customers to take advantage of its Equal Payment Plan (EPP) which helps make monthly bills more predictable throughout the year.”

Southwest Gas spokesperson

The company also encourages customers to learn more about their usage by calling 877-860-6020 or by logging onto the Southwest Gas website.