Natural gas shortages to cause LG&E rate hike

A new report estimates most Americans heating their homes with natural gas could pay 30-50% more this winter.
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 11:12 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - LG&E submitted a request for a rate increase to the Kentucky Public Service Comission, which will be considered in a meeting this week. If accepted, LG&E spokesperson Natasha Collins said customers could see their rates go up by about a third.

A new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates most Americans heating their homes with natural gas could pay 30-50% more this winter.

Rebekah Farley is a single mother living in the Shelby Park neighborhood, where most homes are more than a century old. She said last winter, heating bills were already high and she plans on not touching the thermostat for now.

“My plan right now is to keep the heat off for as long as possible,” Farley said. “It’s just a matter of time that her toes get cold enough. I got to turn the heat on then.”

The U.S. Henry Hub natural gas spot price, which is a common metric for measuring the fuel, has more than doubled from its low point last year. Shortages of equipment and manpower, as well as interruptions from hurricane Ida, exacerbated the rising cost. That cost will be passed along to consumers this winter.

Natasha Collins, an LG&E spokesperson, said the company began stockpiling natural gas in the summer when prices were cheaper in an attempt to mitigate the pricing spike. She added the company wants to work with anyone struggling to keep their home warm.

“We understand that it’s a challenge as we all try to better manage our energy use and energy bills,” Collins said. “We want our customers to know that we are here to help them manage,”

Farley said that she’ll work through the higher prices but cuts to food and daycare will be made.

“It’s a significant issue when a single bill climbs, but right now we’re seeing a lot of bills climb,” Farley said. “A climb in my gas bill is a significant impact on my monthly budget.”

Collins said the rate increase, if approved, will begin in November and last at least through January.

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