Natural Gas Delivers Greater Value and Lower Emissions for the 2016-17 Winter Heating Season

News Release October 19, 2016

Washington, D.C. – The direct use of natural gas continues to be the most affordable energy option for home heating and offers lower greenhouse gas emissions than other home energy sources. The American Gas Association (AGA) held its annual winter outlook event today where the Association explored expectations for the 2016-17 winter heating season. After an extraordinarily warm winter last year, normal conditions would mean that residential customers this year would use more gas on average and therefore, see slightly higher bills. AGA consumers could experience a nine to eleven percent increase in overall heating bills this winter compared to the 2015-16 winter heating season.

“Abundant supplies have moderated natural gas price increases, but more consumption and colder temperatures compared to last year may result in a moderate increase in overall bills,” said Brendan O’Brien, senior energy analyst at AGA. “Even with increases in consumption this winter, low cost natural gas may mean that many Americans on average, can expect to see one of the lowest bills in the past decade.”

Increased use of natural gas can achieve significant efficiency improvements and carbon emissions reductions. The production of natural gas through its delivery into buildings is more efficient than grid-delivered electricity, propane, or oil. Even as more renewable sources are added to our nation’s electric generation mix, the direct use of natural gas will remain an efficient, affordable and low-carbon option for consumers. Encouraging direct use is therefore a valuable way to meet efficiency and emissions goals.

According to Chris McGill, vice president of Energy Analysis and Standards at AGA, the price of natural gas this winter is largely due to stable production and a strong underground storage position. Utilities work all year to prepare for the possibility of extreme temperatures and employ a portfolio approach to help ensure they can meet the needs of their customers at affordable prices on the coldest days of the year. Natural gas storage levels in the U.S. are nearing four trillion cubic feet and storage can provide as much as 20 percent of all gas consumed during a five-month winter heating season.

You can view the entire presentation here.

The American Gas Association, founded in 1918, represents more than 200 local energy companies that deliver clean natural gas throughout the United States. There are more than 75 million residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the U.S., of which 95 percent — more than 71 million customers — receive their gas from AGA members. Today, natural gas meets more than three-tenths of the United States' energy needs.