Natural Gas Prices Spike Headed to Your Wallet - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/6/03

Natural Gas Prices Spike Headed to Your Wallet

Although our winter has been relatively mild here on the South Plains, it's been bone chillingly cold for most of the nation this winter. That, coupled with low natural gas supplies has caused prices to spike, which means your utility bills are once again moving on up.

All of us will soon be paying a lot more for gas and electricity and for Kirish McGrew, that means cutting back. "Basically just regulatin' when we turn the gas on and everything. Try to make sure that we don't get too high bills," says McGrew.

Atmos Energy Division Vice-President Junior Aston says its customers' can expect to pay $20 to $25 dollars more this month than they paid last month for the same amount of gas. "With the gas prices increasing, everybody's bill will be higher."

The only good news is that prices have been declining for the past three or four days now. But, that's too little too late for your next bill.

There are three reasons for the spike:

  • A brutally cold winter nationwide.
  • Volatile oil prices and markets possibly because of an unstable economy and looming war.
  • Low storage levels. Supply is low and demand is high, which causes prices to skyrocket.

"We pass the cost directly to the customer. There's no profit here," says Xcel Energy's Curtis Corder. Corder says a rise in natural gas prices also means your electricity rates will be going up.

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Both Xcel and Atmos say they are doing things to keep costs down. Xcel Energy uses a blend of natural gas and coal to produce its electricity.

Atmos Energy blends cheaper pre-purchased gas from the summer months with current gas, which helps to save its customers money at times like this.

By the way, LP&L customers can expect to see the same kind of rising rates.

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