COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The 60 million American homes that rely on natural gas for heat can expect substantially lower bills next winter thanks to a glut in supply and the weak economy.
Just as distributors start to lock in contracts for the coming winter, natural gas prices have fallen almost 75 percent. Not all of that will show up as savings on the heating bill, but it should still mean noticeable savings.
Utilities also generate about a fifth of the nation's electricity with gas, and many of their customers should notice price breaks as well.
Electric utilities burn natural gas at power turbines, so homes that use electric heat could see big price breaks, too. And barring a scorching summer or a brutal hurricane season, analysts say prices could fall even further.
The reason is because new technology this decade has unlocked massive reserves of natural gas in North America, and the sudden jump in supply has collided with a recession, the worst since World War II, that has sapped demand.
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