BERLINE, CT — According to Yankee Gas, following last year’s record winter warmth and lower energy prices, consumers can expect to pay higher energy prices across the board this heating season. The utility says that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is expecting a 12% increase in demand for natural gas compared to last year, assuming normal weather conditions.

The DOE is also predicting natural gas prices will increase 19% on average nationally, compared to last year, while heating oil will increase an average of 45%. Yankee Gas says that this comes at a time when production is down, the economy continues to have a negative effect on consumer spending patterns, and the U.S. appears poised for war with Iraq. In addition, the utility company says that weather will also play a role.

“The weather is always the wild card,” said Marc Andrukiewicz, director of gas management at Yankee Gas. “We could have another mild winter, like last year, or it could be much colder. Either way, the weather has an effect on demand and, consequently, price.”

Heading into the winter heating season, Andrukiewicz assures customers that Yankee Gas is in the position to meet customer demand this winter. In addition to storage supplies, the company says that it works to buy gas under a mix of contracts that can deliver the best value.

Yankee Gas also has programs in place for low-income consumers, including Matching Payment and Winter Protection Programs that work in combination with energy assistance and payment arrangements.

For more information on Yankee programs, go to (website).

Publication date: 10/14/2002