Utility companies warn of rising prices, natural gas shortage

Natural gas supply and winter planning
Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 6:51 PM EDT
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(WFSB) - With the global natural gas supply stretching thin, Eversource and other utility companies have been sounding the alarm.

Bills have already been going up for some.

Eyewitness News ran into someone in Berlin who described how one of her bills increased to over $200.

While Eversource has sounded the alarm, ISO New England, the region’s electricity grid operator, is still saying we should be ok for the season.

ISO New England said there’s enough supply for mild and moderate winter conditions.

ISO said it’s taking into account a typical winter in New England, where it gets pretty cold, and leaders say they believe the supply should be fine.

“...We are not anticipating the need for controlled outages at this time. While prudent power system operations requires working with our partners at the utilities and government agencies to discuss and plan for the worst case scenario, these situations are rare,” said ISO in a statement.

During their board meeting today, they discussed winter supply, as well as forecasts for rising energy needs for the next ten years.

That doesn’t solve the problem of rising prices.

There are several assistance programs in the state, but you need to act fast because a lot of people are already requesting help.

“Something’s gotta give, I mean, somebody’s gotta do something,” said Vera Rogers.

Vera’s bills keep going up and the way things are going with supply shortages and the ongoing war in Ukraine, the peak remains to be seen.

Vera said it’s something she just has to deal with.

“I have an autistic child at home and I have to keep it on for her. I mean, like, my furnace is electric start, so I need to keep it on so I can keep my heat on so she’ll be warm in the winter,” said Vera.

Eversource CEO Joseph Nolan sent a letter to President Biden asking for help with natural gas supply, warning of increased prices and potential rolling blackouts.

Brenda Watson is Executive Director of Operation Fuel.

They help families with energy bills.

Their next cycle of grants starts in December, but they’ve already seen higher interest and they gave out quite a bit more than usual their last cycle, which ended last month.

“We haven’t seen this influx of demand during the height of COVID,” said Watson. “We went over our budget by nearly 800,000 dollars, and we are concerned what the next few months are going to bring.”

To ensure more people get help, they’re thinking of cutting grant amounts. With rising costs, that might not be an option.

“Fuel dealers are asking us to increase the grant amount because $5,000 isn’t filling up tanks with the price of fuel being what it is,” said Watson.

There are other programs, like the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program.

Utility companies warn of rising electricity prices