Will there be fewer holiday lights this season in Wisconsin?More woodburning fires? Wisconsin Public Service Corp., a unit ofWPS Resources Corp., warned Friday that its natural gas customersmay see a 17% hike in their energy bills this month because of thelatest increase in wholesale gas prices. WPSC said that its averageresidential customer would pay nearly 57% more overall this yearthan last, about $50 total.
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“Wanted: entry-level workers, roustabouts, floorhands, mechanicsand electricians. Training, benefits provided.” It’s a virtualposting in drilling companies’ offices across North America.Unemployment is so low, and jobs so plentiful across nearly everyjob sector that finding potential employees who are willing to workfor low-end wages in the oil and gas industry has reached acritical stage.
The Energy Information Administration is projecting gas demandin the fourth quarter to be 5%-6% lower than it was in 4Q 1997,which was a colder-than-normal quarter. It sees 8.9% fewer heatingdegree-days this quarter than during the prior year’s period. Allsectors are showing lower gas demand in this quarter, except forelectric utility gas demand, which may hold to levels seen in 4Q1997. Overall natural gas demand growth this year is now projectedto be 2.9% below the 1997 level.