Natural gas prices to shoot up for winter - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Natural gas prices to shoot up for winter

Winter may seem a long way away, but it already looks like you'll see a huge jump in your heating bill.

That's according to the Kentucky commission that oversees utility companies.

LG&E says you should start thinking now about your heating costs, just how high they could go, and what you can do about it."From what we can tell, the U.S. markets for natural gas is going up and going up significantly," said LG&E spokesman Chip Keeling.

The utility has been buying natural gas and storing it underground.

All summer, wholesale natural gas prices have fluctuated, skyrocketing as high as 80 percent more than last winter, Keeling said.

Those are price levels the Louisville area and the country have not seen since the fall of 2005, when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita disrupted supplies from the Gulf Coast.

Fox 41 News recently profiled Lousiville resident Martha Berner, when LG&E performed an energy audit on her home.

She's since had an electric heat pump installed, along with a humidifier.   Berner believes those will make her house feel yet a few more degrees warmer this winter.  But even people who heat their homes with electricity will see somewhat higher bills because of the higher price of coal.

"I know that I need to get ready. I need to prepare for that, and so I plan to insulate the attic," Berner said.

She also has replaced her thermostat with one she can program to heat the house right before she gets home, instead of running the heat all day.

"My income isn't going up, so it's worrisome."

Next month LG&E will set its natural gas prices for November, December, and January.

It's advice to customers:  now is a good time to consider budget billing and weatherizing your home.

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