Natural gas costs forecasted to skyrocket this winter
More than three-quarters of Michiganders stay warm in their homes through winter with natural gas, and that is going to hit their household budgets hard in coming months.
Energy industry experts point to significantly growing demand for natural gas and unstable market conditions because of geopolitical conflicts as the dual problem. The outfall is a spike in cost for residential natural gas projected at 29% through this winter, largely because of jumps in commodity prices.
State officials are encouraging Michigan residents to sign up for energy assistance programs because of these rapidly increasing energy costs.
Experts with a consumers protection group are also closely watching conditions across Michigan and its executive director said they worry high price for natural gas won’t only be a problem solely this winter but will extend throughout 2023. That’s because utilities will recover the cost of this year’s fuel by raising rates next year.
“If (utility companies) underestimate, and gas turns out to be more expensive than they thought, then the next year the charge goes up to make up the difference,” said Amy Bandyk, who leads Citizens Utility Board of Michigan (CUB).
Because the run-up in gas prices was unexpected this year, we are seeing the utilities under-recovering large amounts because their forecasts were off.
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