Natural gas reps. tell Mo. regulators demand causing spikes

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Natural gas and utility industry representatives tell regulators increasing demand could fuel higher energy prices.

Chris McGill with the American Gas Association says there are now two peak periods for natural gas demand. There's the traditional winter heating season, and one in summer because more electrical plants use natural gas.

Besides demand, the trade groups point to weaker U.S. currency, increasing foreign competition for liquefied natural gas and hurricanes as contributors for higher prices.

The Public Service Commission last week allowed three utilities to charge an extra $100 to $200 for natural gas. The bump can be adjusted as gas prices change, and it factors only market prices and doesn't account for profits.

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