Ameren: Natural gas costs to be steady this winter

PEORIA, Ill. -- Ameren Illinois officials say they're expecting natural gas prices this winter will be similar to last season.

Ameren Illinois, part of Ameren Corp., serves 1.2 million electric and more than 800,000 natural gas customers in central and southern Illinois. Ameren gas supply manager Ken Dothage says prices will stay about the same this winter because of an increase in the North American gas supply. He also cites slower U.S. and global economies and decreased worldwide demand for energy.

But there is a caution. Ameren officials say last year was an unusually mild winter and natural gas bills were lower. They say customers can expect to use more natural gas this year if temperatures return to normal.