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Michigan residents who use natural gas to heat their homes will continue to see lower gas bills this winter, DTE Energy officials said Thursday.

The savings – expected to total nearly $200 for the average household for the winter heating season – is due to a combination of factors, including mild temperatures in November and December, and lower natural gas prices.

“We charge customers only the price we pay for gas, and when those costs are lowered, we pass those savings on to our customers,” Mark Stiers, DTE Gas president and chief operating officer, said in a statement Thursday.

According to DTE Energy, the average homeowner can expect to save $182 this winter heating season, which runs from November to March. That’s 27 percent less than last winter’s average bill.

This month the utility lowered the gas rate – the market rate it pays for natural gas – to $3.70 per thousand cubic feet from $4.07. The cost changes are based on the law of supply and demand, said DTE Energy spokesman Scott Simons.

“There’s just plentiful supplies of natural gas right now nationwide,” he said.

The utility expects the current gas rate to last through March.

“Even beyond the heating season, there are gas water heaters, gas stoves,” Simons said of customer natural gas usage. “They’ll be saving in that regard as well.”

DTE Energy purchases large quantities of natural gas when prices are low and stores it underground until it is needed during the cold winter months.

“We continuously work to make our operations more efficient in an effort to keep energy affordable for our customers,” Stiers said.

cwilliams@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2311

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