Following the unprecedented surge in natural gas prices that hit many communities in central Illinois as a result of major winter storms, the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) is developing a $15 million low-interest loan program to help municipalities that have been financially impacted.
The crisis that occurred in the natural gas industry between February 12 and February 21 elevated prices to egregious levels. Natural gas on average in the winter costs the impacted municipal utilities around $2-$3 per dekatherm. Municipal utilities drawing from the Panhandle Pipeline were forced to pay $225 per dekatherm from February 13 through February 16.
Panhandle Pipeline implemented restrictions on gas use due to increases in demand because of the extreme temperatures across the country, as well as a choking of supply in Texas and Oklahoma due to wellhead freeze offs at production sites. Panhandle Pipeline implemented restrictions to maintain operational capacity.
The IFA loan program will assist impacted municipalities by allowing them to spread the payments across a more manageable timeframe without placing an overwhelming burden on their residents or businesses. The IFA is currently fine-tuning the specifics of the program ahead of their special meeting on Thursday, February 25 at noon, which will formalize the program.
Visit the Illinois Finance Authority website for more inform about the relief program or watch the special meeting to be held – Click Here.