Natural gas prices going up 17 percent

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Energy price increase in Kentucky reportedly in line with national average

By The Staff

Kentuckians will pay more for natural gas in the coming months than they did a year ago, the Kentucky Public Service Commission says.

“High heating costs will again be a burden for many of our citizens,” PSC Chairman David Armstrong said. “Although the prices have come down since August, natural gas still costs more than it did at this time last year.”

On average, Kentucky customers can expect to pay about 17 percent more this year than last for the same quantity of natural gas. That is in line with national averages.

Energy prices in general have been declining in recent months, and natural gas today is well below its peak price of this summer. But the summer prices will affect winter heating costs. A portion of the natural gas that will be used this winter was purchased and stored during the summer and its cost will reflect the higher price.

“Fortunately, we are heading into the heating season with every indication that natural gas supplies will be sufficient to meet demand,” Armstrong said. “This would suggest that, unless there is widespread and extreme cold weather, prices should stay fairly stable.”

Kentucky’s five major natural gas distribution companies expect their wholesale cost this November to be, on average, $11.70 per 1,000 cubic feet (mcf). That is up $2.24 (24 percent) from an average of $9.46 per mcf a year ago.

The wholesale cost of natural gas accounts for about three-fourths of a typical consumer’s winter bill. A typical Kentucky customer using 10 mcf next month will pay a total monthly bill of $150.78, up $22.38 - or 17.4 percent - from the $128.40 average bill a year ago.

About 44 percent of Kentuckians heat their homes with natural gas.