Many American households may face significantly higher heating bills this winter, thanks to record U.S. exports of natural gas amid a global supply shortage. The Wall Street Journal reports that the domestic price of natural gas is already on the rise, for only the second time since the U.S. firms began exporting shale gas abroad in 2016.
U.S. suppliers have transported a record amount of natural gas out of the country this year. And following a scorching summer and extreme conditions last winter, American utilities’ own natural-gas supplies are already lean, the Journal notes. In the last week of October, the amount of gas in underground storage was 8 percent below the same time last year and 2.7 percent below the five-year average, according to the Energy Information Administration.
The Journal reports that because of the ongoing squeeze, U.S. utilities across the country — now facing the highest natural gas prices in years — have filed requests with regulators to raise their rates for the winter. Households that depend on natural gas will likely pay an average of 30 percent more for heating this year, the EIA has estimated. The prices could go even higher if it’s a cold winter and Americans are forced to crank up their furnaces.