Natural gas prices have doubled this year and are expected to continue to rise throughout the winter.
In February of this year, a cold snap across the country caused a huge spike in prices that caused several municipal utilities to put in emergency use alerts to customers, and in some cases shuttered schools for a short time in the area.
The City of Winchester saw a gas bill of over $459,000 during the week of February 12th-19th causing the city to take out a low-interest loan with the state to keep from hitting customers with massive bills. According to Winchester Mayor Rex McIntire at the time, it was a 300% increase in the city’s bills.
McIntire said on Wednesday that the city hopes to avoid any massive bills with the currently inflating costs this winter: “Let’s hope we don’t have another spike. If you read the experts, they are saying that natural gas is going to increase in price again, which is kind of normal. Hopefully, we won’t have that ridiculous spike that we had last year. We have hedged more, which I’m hoping will help, but we have started urging people to begin to conserve and do their best to keep their [bills] low.”
McIntire characterized the February polar vortex that crippled natural gas refineries in Texas a perfect storm of problems.
Experts say if it’s an especially cold winter this year for the Midwest, due to a lack of production and rising demand in the global market, natural gas prices are still going to be the highest they have been in over a decade.