Tuesday, January 28, 2014
The latest blast of frigid temperatures pushed residential and commercial demand for natural gas to its second-highest total on record Tuesday.
With temperatures plunging over much of the country, demand is just 4% below the all-time record set Jan. 7, when the polar vortex engulfed much of the Midwest and Northeast with Arctic temperatures. A second cold this week blast pushed thermometers well below zero in parts of the Midwest. Meanwhile, demand is rising in the South, where up to 50 million people face a rare bout of freezing temperatures, snow and ice.
January has already set seven of the top 10 all-time demand days for natural gas.
"You have these intense cold swaths affecting large population areas, and that's what drives use,'' said Jack Weixel, Denver-based director of energy analysis for Platts Bentek Energy.
About half the U.S. households use natural gas as their primary heat source. The Energy Information Administration has said a 10% colder than forecast winter could boost fuel bills by 25%.
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