Natural Gas Utilities Expect Continued Low Prices
Natural gas customers in the Northwest will pay even less to heat their homes this winter. That was the message Thursday from Oregon's three largest natural gas utilities. They issued their prediction at a meeting of the state’s Public Utility Commission.
Randy Friedman is the director of gas supply for Northwest Natural, which expects to reduce its rates as of November 1. It's the fourth drop in a row for the utility. But Friedman says the streak can't last forever.
Friedman: "We don't think the current prices are sustainable over the long term. A lot of it is due to sluggish demand. So, presuming that the economy recovers, demand comes up, so you'll see some uptick in prices."
Friedman expects a similar short-term drop will play out for customers across the Northwest. One reason for the lower prices is an increase in the supply of natural gas. That's due in part to the controversial natural gas drilling practice known as "fracking."
Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network
On the Web:
Oregon 2012 Natural Gas outlook: http://cms.oregon.egov.com/puc/meetings/pmemos/2012/072612/2012ngoutlook.pdf
Oregon natural gas price history: http://cms.oregon.egov.com/PUC/Pages/ngpricehistory.aspx