You may -not- be paying as much to heat you home this winter as feared. For months, utilities have been warning consumers about skyrocketing natural gas prices, but MidAmerican Energy spokesman Allan Urlis says the situation is less dire than originally thought. Back in late May and early June, natural gas prices were 80-percent higher than they were a year ago, but Urlis says that price has come down — though it’s still higher than in 2002. Urlis says some people misunderstood the earlier warnings and perceived the higher costs as being worse than they really are going to be.He says just because natural gas prices are 80-percent higher does -not- mean heating costs will also be 80-percent higher. Urlis would -not- put a number figure on how much higher the prices will be, saying much will depend on the winter weather — the severity and duration of the cold. He says MidAmerican, Iowa’s largest utility, is taking further steps to try and keep natural gas prices down. Urlis says by the end of October, MidAmerican will have 73-percent of the expected natural gas demand for the heating season either in storage or locked into fixed-price contracts. What that does is protect the consumer against price spikes during cold snaps, so they’re not buying more expensive gas purchased on the commodity market.
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