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Con Edison Reports Record Winter For Natural Gas Demand

Con Edison of New York (Con Ed) said that although winter heating bills were lower this season compared to last, demand for natural gas in its service area set records.

The company set a monthly record in January, providing 44.29 million Dth, surpassing a record set in February 2014. Con Ed said that gas went to customers and toward the generation of electricity and steam. On Jan. 13, after a blast of cold weather hit its service area, which includes most of New York City and Westchester County, NY, the company set an all-time, one-day high when it sent out 1.68 million Dth (see Daily GPI, Jan. 23). The highest seven-day stretch for natural gas demand also occurred this winter, Con Ed said.

The average monthly gas bill for residential customers from November through February was $216, or 23% lower than the $279 during the winter of 2013-2014. During the same period, the average monthly electric bill was $95.42, compared to $102.95 last winter.

Even though the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported earlier this month that this winter was the planet's warmest on record, much of the eastern United States saw temperatures that were similar to the winter of 2013-2014, particularly last month, when parts of New England and New York experienced record-low temperatures.

Winter 2013-2014 was one of the nation's coldest in decades. It sent demand for gas to record-setting heights and forced price spikes that left power generators scrambling for gas and found grid operators trying to fill the void and sending electricity where they could (see Daily GPI, May 14, 2014).

Con Ed, a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison Inc., provides natural gas service to three New York City boroughs -- Manhattan, the Bronx and parts of Queens -- in addition to some of Westchester. It also provides electricity service in most of New York City and Westchester and has more than 3.4 million customers.

Con Ed said Spectra Energy Corp's New Jersey-New York expansion, which extended the Texas Eastern and Algonquin Gas systems to provide the region with an additional 800 MMcf/d of capacity, has helped it meet demand and save more than $200 million in electric and gas costs since it entered service in late 2013 (see Shale Daily, Nov 1, 2013). The company said recent progress among its customers with an oil-to-gas heating conversion program also helped stoke additional demand for natural gas.

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