Will it Cost More to Heat Your Home this Winter? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/26/02

Will it Cost More to Heat Your Home this Winter?

As temperatures plummet across West Texas, most of us are cranking up the furnace. Atmos Energy says prices are stable for now. But what can we expect for the duration of the cold weather season? NewsChannel 11 has a price comparison for the last three years, the outlook for this winter, and tips on how to keep your home cozy without overspending.

It's one of the most comforting sounds of the season, the familiar click of the furnace as it begins to kick out gas and heat our homes. Atmos Energy says so far so good this year. Gas prices remain well below what they were two years ago, and just slightly higher than last year.

Here's a breakdown of the price of gas per 1,000 cubic feet for the past three years:

  • 2000 - 2001: $10.00/Mcf
  • 2001 - 2002: $3.20/Mcf
  • 2002 - 2003: $4.20/Mcf

Atmos says it can't really predict what will happen, but the company has a plan in case we do see prices skyrocket again like we did two years ago. To better control situations like the spike in gas prices two years ago, Atmos Energy is now buying excess gas at low prices and storing it.

"Should the prices start to really increase, we'll take some of that cheaper gas (we bought), blend it with our monthly purchases, and therefore, stabilize prices to customers," says Atmos Public Affairs Manager Dan Alderson.

There are also four key things you can do to control your gas bill without losing warmth:

  • Open blinds and let the natural sunlight warm your home during the day
  • Turn your furnace down about 10 degrees when you leave the house
  • Cock and weather strip around doors and windows
  • Have adequate insulation throughout your entire home, including the attic

Unfortunately, there are two main things we can't control when it comes to keeping gas prices down. If we have a particularly harsh winter, gas prices are susceptible to rise. In addition, war with Iraq could impact gas prices as well. Two "uncontrollables" in an otherwise stable market for now.

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