Monday, October 6, 2008

K.C. Star Says Natural Gas Prices High

Natural gas production is up, which is encouraging news for energy-conscious Americans. But prices are among the highest they have ever been at this time of the year. That’s a disturbing fact.

It appears that many Kansas Citians and millions of other consumers across the country could be paying a lot more than in past winters to heat their houses.

Experts suggest several effective ways to reduce those bills — or at least trim potential increases — as the colder months approach.

Install better insulation in attics and walls, and add weather-stripping around doors and windows.

Dial back thermostats, especially at night.

Hire an inspector for an annual heating system checkup.

Change filters once a month to help furnaces run more efficiently.

Set the water heater’s temperature at 125 degrees — lower than is often the case — and install an insulating wrap.

Open curtains so the sun can help keep some rooms warmer.

Natural-gas production is expected to increase by 8 percent this year over last. More gas wells are being completed, too, raising the possibility of more production. That also could help drive down or at least control natural gas prices.

Unfortunately, 2008 has seen one of the biggest price spikes in history.

The national wellhead price for a thousand cubic feet of natural gas stood at $6.99 in January — higher than any previous year except 2006 — and climbed to $10.82 in June.

Since then, the price has fallen to around $8. But that’s not cause for too much celebration; it’s still at a level higher than any fall in recent decades.

So if supplies of natural gas are up, why aren’t prices down?

The weakness of the U.S. currency means it takes more dollars to buy a commodity like natural gas.

International tensions — in the Middle East and because of Russia’s invasion of Georgia — have made traders nervous, boosting prices for oil and natural gas.
And here’s one more piece of advice for homeowner

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