- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 10, 2006

1:38 p.m.

Winter heating bills are expected to be slightly lower for most families across the nation, with the highest reductions for those who use natural gas, the government said.

TheDepartment of Energy’s Energy Information Administration said in its annual outlook for residential heating bills that for the first time since the winter of 2001-02, prices are projected to be either lower than or close to last year’s prices.

Families using natural gas should expect to pay an average of $119 less during the upcoming winter compared to last year, a decrease of 13 percent, the Energy Department said. Those heating their homes with fuel oil will pay $91 more, an increase of 6 percent, it said.

The department said that propane users can expect to pay $15 less this winter, a drop of 1 percent.

Natural gas is the most widely used source of fuel for residential heating in the nation, especially in the Midwest. Fuel oil is used heavily in the Northeast.

Natural gas prices have dropped recently and natural gas storage is at an all-time high. The American Gas Association (AGA) said that between April and June, prices held steady compared with the previous year and prices have been lower for the past three months.

The AGA said yesterday that “the industry has repaired much of the damage to its infrastructure and wholesale prices are lower, but the weather is the wild card.”

“As always, the uncertainty is substantial and significantly colder temperatures could lead to substantially greater expenditures,” said Guy Caruso, head of the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical agency.

Last year, there was concern that heating bills would soar following the struggles of the oil and gas industry to recover from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. But the warmest January on record reduced demand and helped temper some of the expenses for consumers.

“This is a very different scene than we had a year ago in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita,” Mr. Caruso said.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration projected today that most of the country will see above-normal winter temperatures, though slightly cooler than last year’s very warm winter.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide