Sky high heating oil bills and bargain basement natural gas prices due to the shale gas revolution are causing consumers to stampede to natural gas for heat. For example, record numbers of heating consumers are switching from oil to gas to heat their homes and businesses in the UGI utility service territory. UGI is a combined electricity and gas utility that serves portions of eastern Pennsylvania.
UGI had an incredible 1700 heating oil customers switch to gas in just October. It is scrambling to keep up with all the requests. The 1700 customer conversions in October smash the previous record of 800 conversions for a year.
The customer stampede is being driven by record high heating oil bills that mean many consumers would have to pay $3,000 to $4,000 to get through a winter and by sharply lower natural gas bills, as a result of the massive new natural gas supplies from shale production that have lowered the commodity cost of gas from $13 for a thousand cubic feet in July 2008 to below $4 currently.
Switching to natural gas can save a family easily $1,000 to $2,500 per winter, depending on their fuel consumption. Median income families this winter using oil may have to pay 10% of their after tax income to stay warm but about 5% or less if they have natural gas.
These are big numbers that impact the financial security and health of average families and explain the stampede to gas