The 2021-2022 winter home heating season will likely be “significantly more expensive” than last year, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) recently reported.

PA

Citing a recent Energy Association of Pennsylvania (EAP) readiness report, PUC noted that home heating consumption is “likely to increase due to forecasts of colder weather, combined with a rise in natural gas prices.”

Pennsylvania’s gas demand will reach 230.6 Bcf this winter, representing a 2.6% increase from the 224.7 Bcf figure for Winter 2020-2021, according to information in the EAP report.

PUC also released a series of “2021 Winter Reliability Overview Reports” from Pennsylvania’s major natural gas distribution companies (NGDC). It explained the reports outline the NGDCs’ preparations for conditions that may affect service reliability, supply and prices during the winter months. Such conditions include system readiness, employee/safety readiness, communications outreach, gas supply and planning and natural gas demand for electric generators, PUC said.

“The NGDCs that have electric generation customers pointed out that most of those customers have their own energy supply contracts, so the demands for winter electric generation are not expected to impact the utilities’ ability to serve their core residential and business customers,” stated PUC.

The regulator also said that utilities continue to address Covid-19 issues and are conducting “an increased tempo of emergency exercises and drills” so that staff are ready to respond to winter heating season emergencies.

NGDCs furnishing PUC with winter readiness overview reports include Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Inc., National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp., PECO Energy Co., Peoples Natural Gas Co. LLC and Peoples Gas Co. LLC, Philadelphia Gas Works, UGI Utilities, Inc. — Gas Division and EAP.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has projected that American households will spend 30% more year/year on natural gas for winter home heating. One major U.S. utility, CenterPoint Energy Inc., recently advised its gas distribution customers in multiple states to brace for higher bills this winter. In Maine, the supply portion of gas-fired electricity customers’ monthly bills could soon go up nearly 90%.