Natural Gas Prices Rise

Ashland, KY – Social service organizations are worried that record high prices for heating fuel could leave the poor out in the cold this winter.
Last year, Community Action Organizations in kentucky provided heating assistance to 204,332 households. That amounted to $23.6 million. With the increases in prices for heating fuels, officials expect the number of people applying for assistance to skyrocket.
Natural gas prices have increased about 125% over the past year, which means some families will see their monthly heating bills more than double this winter. Propane has increased about 120% over the past two years, from 53 cents a gallon in the fall of 2003 to $1.17 a gallon now.
The supplier of natural gas to northeastern kentucky wants to raise its rates.
Columbia Gas announced it's filed a request with the state to raise its prices by 30%. The company contends hurricanes Katrina and Rita have caused natural gas market prices to rise dramatically.
Columbia officials claim the request for a rate hike is an interim measure to adjust to those conditions. Columbia spokeswoman Lisa Smith says an already tight supply and demand situation was further stressed by slowed natural gas production following the hurricanes.
If approved by the Kentucky Public Service Commission, the rate change would take effect October 27th and remain in effect at least until December.