Washington, D.C. – The American Gas Association (AGA) today held a press conference announcing that consumer natural gas prices should be similar to those of last winter. Ample domestic natural gas supplies are available to meet customer needs, and there should be little change in the overall winter bills, even during what is still a very uneven period of economic recovery for the nation.
“Natural gas customers will feel even warmer this winter knowing they made the affordable choice to cleanly and efficiently heat their homes,” said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of AGA. “Responsible resource development of our nation’s vast supply of natural gas has positioned our diverse gas supply sources to meet and even exceed expected demand during the coldest winter months. Natural gas continues to be the best choice for homes when it comes time to turn up the heat”
External factors, particularly severe weather, could affect the demand for, and the price of, natural gas and thus winter bills. However, AGA Managing Director of Policy Analysis Chris McGill reminded the attending media that creating a portfolio of natural gas supply for residential and small commercial customers is a process that occurs over time. Primary pricing mechanisms tend to be market based so natural gas price increases and decreases are reflected in consumer bills. Stability in the market today and the near future is a positive element for natural gas customers in the months to come.
Bree Raum, director of government relations at AGA, also joined the press briefing and discussed the importance of Congress acting to fully fund the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which is currently appropriated under the continuing resolution that runs until November 18. Despite the fact that the FY2010 and FY2009 level for LIHEAP was funded at the fully authorized amount of $5.1 billion and FY2011 was funded at $4.7 billion, FY2012 could only be funded at $2.57 billion. If states are forced to operate at the $2.57 billion level, this will mean a roughly 50 percent cut to their home heating assistance budgets.
For more information about energy-saving tips and home-heating assistance provided to consumers by local natural gas utilities, please visit www.aga.org.