Extreme cold across the much Midwest and eastern portion of the country coupled with potential wellhead freeze offs and the ice storm in the Texas and Oklahoma area are causing unprecedented natural gas usage.
Late last week, natural gas pipelines began implementing restrictions in order to maintain operational capacity. The extremely high natural gas usage along with pipeline restrictions is having a direct effect on natural gas prices.
Natural gas prices have surged to record high levels. The city of Perryville urged residents to “make every effort to conserve gas usage during this unprecedented time of emergency.”
The city issued a released Friday, Feb. 12, informing citizens that prices could surge up to 70 times higher than the normal amount.
“We expect this period to begin tomorrow, Saturday, February 13th at 9 a.m. and continue for the next several days. Please reduce your usage as much as possible. We will provide notice as soon as this increase has ended.”
In a message posted Feb. 14 to the City of Perryville government Facebook page, the city notified users its price would not be increasing.
“We have confirmed yesterday’s gas usage for the City of Perryville was just below our contracted maximum quantities, but just barely,” according to the Facebook page. “Our cushion between yesterday’s usage and our maximum allowed was less than three percent. We have made it through three days and are nearing the end of the frigid cold. Wednesday is supposed to be up to 23 degrees and Friday is projected at a balmy 28 degrees. It only gets warmer from there.
“Do whatever you can to reduce natural gas usage until we get through this and it is possible we still could.
As a comparison, multiple states have already declared emergencies; Jackson, Miss., is colder at this moment than Juno Alaska. Texas officials have ordered black outs across the state after record demand on the state’s electric grid. In addition, many cities are worrying about natural gas prices.
“If we look for a bright spot, our advantage up to this point is we were given a little notice and had some ability to influence the impacts of this emergency here locally,” according to the city statement.
“The first several days of this critical weather event haven’t been as bad as they could’ve beem or started out to be for natural gas prices,” said Perryville city manager Brent Buerck. “Gas prices are certainly higher, but nowhere near what was projected. Our residents have responded, as have our businesses and industries. It looks like this critical weather pricing period will run through this weekend and it’s important everyone continues to conserve their gas use wherever possible.”
Buerck was scheduled to provide an update to the Perryville Board of Aldermen Feb. 16 regarding the city’s process for natural gas pricing.