As furnaces are switched on for the season, some Iowans may be a bit leery of looming utility bills, but industry officials say supplies of natural gas are plentiful as we head into November. Chris McGill, with the American Gas Association, says the U.S. Department of Energy’s Winter Fuels Outlook bodes well for the season ahead.
McGill says, “We’re looking at a combination of abundant domestic gas production, healthy storage levels of gas ready to be brought in when the weather gets cold and we’re looking at relatively mild temperatures which will make for little change to consumers’ gas bills this winter compared to last year.”
McGill says he’s heard projections about the winter ahead that range from mild to brutal. “Even the brutal one is saying that compared to last year, it should be a little bit warmer than it was,” he says. “The weather, unless there’s a specific event that occurs, should not play much of a factor impacting gas bills to the customer.”
McGill says while supplies are plentiful now, that wasn’t the case in the 1970s when there was a 40-year supply of natural gas. People started to conserve, insulate their homes and buy fuel-efficient furnaces. Without conservation, he says, we would be in much worse shape.
“We’re now looking at a 100-year supply of gas so instead of natural gas being a bridge fuel to renewables, we’re looking at gas as a foundation fuel,” he says. “It can be used in residential, commercial, industrial and electric utility level and now moving into the transportation as well.”
McGill says had consumers not conserved 40 years ago, we would be paying $600 a year more for natural gas service.