Winter Natural Gas Bills to Be 7% Higher, Group Says

Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. households’ natural gas bills may rise by about 7 percent this winter amid increased demand for the fuel, the American Gas Association said.

“We expect natural gas demand to be growing, some of that coming from the industrial sector,” Christopher McGill, the association’s managing director of policy analysis, told reporters in Washington today.

The association, which represents companies that deliver natural gas, including Xcel Energy Inc. and DTE Energy Co., said in a report that the expected increase in natural-gas heating bills is based on U.S. Energy Information Administration projections.

Natural gas prices have been a “little higher” this year than in 2009 and there is “not quite as much storage today as there was at this point last year,” McGill said.

Still, the anticipated supply of natural gas is “very strong” and temperatures this winter are expected to be “about the same” as during the last heating season, he said.

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