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It's likely going to cost you more to keep warm this winter.
"On average, EIA expects natural gas bills to rise by 5 percent, home heating oil by 20 percent, and electricity by 3 percent. However, expenditures for homes that use propane are expected to be about the same as last winter," the Energy Information Administration said in its Winter Fuels Outlook.
"EIA forecasts that households heating primarily with electricity will spend an average of $36 (3 percent) more this winter on their electricity bills. This increase in forecast expenditures is a result of 1 percent higher consumption, including both heating and non-heating uses of electricity, and 2 percent higher residential electricity prices than last winter," EIA said in the report, issued Oct. 10.
Forty percent of U.S. households have electricity as their primary heating source, but in the South that figure jumps to nearly two-thirds.
EIA also noted that this winter's mix of energy sources used to generate electricity is slightly different from last season.
"The prices of coal and natural gas delivered to electric generators are expected to be relatively unchanged this winter. The forecast share of total generation provided by coal is 1 percent lower than last winter, averaging about 28 percent. However, EIA expects the share of generation from natural gas to rise from 31 percent to 33 percent," the report said. "This increase is a result of a one percentage point decline in the generation shares of both nuclear power and hydropower, averaging 20 percent and 6 percent, respectively, during the winter of 2018-19, as well as a decline in coal use for electricity generation."
EIA did note that this winter's temperatures are expected to be roughly similar to last winter for most of the country, based on the most recent forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The winter outlook is contained in EIA's latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, which forecasts that dry natural gas production will average 82.7 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) this year—a new record high and an increase of 7.9 Bcf/d from 2017. "EIA expects natural gas production will continue to rise in 2019 to an average of 87.7 Bcf/d," the report said.
But at the same time, EIA forecasts that the nation's natural gas storage inventories will total 3.3 trillion cubic feet at the end of October, which would "mark the lowest level for that time of year since 2005."