From: Alan Womack <arwbackup@wo...> - 2003-06-30 13:23:21
>> Gas prices are expected to rise significantly over the next decade.
>> Thanks to free/spot markets for natural gas in North America, gas prices
>> in the cold north are now linked to electricity consumption in the
>> warmer south.
The same news made the round here a few months back, speculation was there were
significant NG fields in Montana and Wyoming waiting to be drilled. However,
it was unlikely this was going to happen at current prices. :)
>> Most _new_ power plants being built in North America are gas-fired. This
>> means that the old trick of stockpiling natural gas reserves during the
>> summer months no longer works; it's being burned as fast as it can be
>> produced so that we can run our air conditioners.
Indeed, all the powerplants built around here in the last 20 years were NG
fired. There has already been some necessary upgrades of underground pipelines
to feed the increased demand. Dry summers over the last few years have
decreased our available hydro capacity, and Californias idiocy has caused my
electric rates to increase for the next several years as my local utilities pay
back their debt from that famous summer of STUPIDITY.
>> So, increased demand _and_ elimination of the summer stockpiling (which
>> was a seasonal price leveler) means prices will rise quite dramatically.
They are about 30% now then 2 years ago I noticed on my bill at my old home vs.
the current rate sheet at the utilites site.
>> (Of course, electricity prices are probably going to rise too :-)
>> Now I like my gas water heater for one reason; it re-heats _much_ faster
>> than electric. I've heard that heating oil is even better for this,
>> because it burns even hotter than gas, but you probably only would do
>> that if you had a oil-fired furnace.
By theory gas should cost less than half of electricity in my area which should
mean pretty quick payback. However, at the volumes of water my family uses,
there is no payback due to an additional "hook up fee" that is levied forever
at $5.00 a month. Couple that with the extra cost of going gas due to venting
issues, more expensive heaters, and I find electricity as the only sensible
I computed my costs based on a $0.0687 per kWH cost, which is my highest
residential tier. Our power is cheapest for the first 400 kWH, then goes up a
notch and then another notch at 601 kWH. A currrent therm is $0.771 currently.
With help of my power meter reader: graph here:
I found my costs as:
per shower a day <$0.11
per bath <$0.20
IF I had other gas appliances, I might get a return in about 5-7 years. AT THE
CURRENT rates, if they raise, it moves the payback out to replacement time on