This week’s frigid weather has sent natural gas prices to record highs, bringing what one energy analyst calls “panic buying” on the market. That will translate to Iowans who heat their homes with natural gas to be forced into paying even more on their utility bills every month.Alliant Energy spokesman John Ruff says his company has refigured projections of winter heating bills. He says the recent blast could now drive heating costs up by more than 100-percent when compared with last year.Ruff says Alliant and the other energy companies will basically be at the mercy of the market in purchasing heating fuel.Prices earlier this week for natural gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange hit as high as nine-dollars-86-cents per one thousand cubic feet. That’s up nearly 15-percent from last week.
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