I bought the Eskimo pie, drumstick, popsicle, candy bars and the pickle for .05. LOL
This is on the table in MA, Our problem is pipelines, to many tree huggers around hear. I would like them all to move to the cape and islands. Many, many people want to convert to ng. Not enough pipelines run to MA. We still are importing LNG by ship to Everett. New price proposals for this year.
Nstar Gas in Massachusetts files new natural gas supply rate – lowest since 2002
NStar Gas has submitted its annual gas rate to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, and if approved the rate will be the lowest in a decade and 18 percent lower than last year’s rate.
According to a release from NStar Tuesday, the proposed supply rate will be 57.32 cents per therm, down from about 70 cents. If approved the new price will go into effect Nov. 1.
“As we head into another heating season with low prices, it’s no wonder we’re seeing record numbers of customers converting their heating systems to clean, efficient natural gas,” President of NSTAR Gas Rod Powell said. “In today’s economy, with the price of other fuels hovering near all-time highs, our customers will once again be glad they chose natural gas to keep their families warm this winter.”
According to NStar, the supply rate, known as the Cost of Gas Adjustment, reflects the price NStar pays for natural gas, with no profit made by the company on this charge. The proposed decrease reflects a continued decline in natural gas prices due in part to abundant domestic supplies.
It’s a little like a big box store coming into a small town, offering lower prices than all the Main Street shops, and then putting those independents out of business. What happens next? Prices go up. The parallel isn’t exact, but you get the idea.
The cost of electricity in New England dropped sharply in 2009 as domestic natural gas supplies surged following the widespread use of hydraulic fracturing, a method of extracting shale gas by blasting through rocks with water (and some chemicals).
This quickly made the older coal and oil-fired power plants in New England uneconomical to run, except on days when demand for power is particularly high. Running a power plant a few times a month, even with the premiums that can be had for helping out grid operator ISO New England in a time of need, is not a long-term strategy for success. And the older plants once known, in Massachusetts, as the "Filthy Five" started to die off. (I wrote about their demise for this week’s cover story in the Boston Business Journal.)
So how does this translate into higher prices? Last winter, on super cold days, the generators were needed more than ever. Much of the natural gas was sent to home-heating customers first. But New England still needed natural gas to keep the lights on. We only have two pipelines into New England from the west, where our domestic gas comes from, and these were maxed out. So pricier natural gas was imported, most likely from Canada.
Deborah Drew, a spokeswoman for National Grid, confirmed my theory that wholesale power prices are increasing this winter partially because of our dependence on natural gas and New England’s pipeline constraints. Drew tells me the futures market for natural gas has taken into account the risk of these price spikes occurring again this winter — price spikes driven by cold weather, unscheduled plant outages, and pipeline restrictions. National Grid doesn’t make a profit from the generation charges (although it does earn a profit from the transmission and distribution charges).
And I haven’t relayed the really bad news yet. Last year, less than 4 percent of New England’s power came from oil and coal, compared with 40 percent a decade ago. And only one Massachusetts coal plant had been shut down at that time. Other plant shutdowns, such as Salem Harbor and Brayton Point, are in the works. Without a major influx of new electrical supplies (like, say, a proposed transmission line that would link us with big hydropower plants in Quebec), our reliance on natural gas is only going to keep growing. There’s some talk of expanding pipeline capacity, but significant upgrades are a long way off. Unless we get an unusually mild winter, the odds are good that we’ll see another increase a year from now. Even if rates stay roughly the same, it’s almost a certainty that the days when New England enjoyed super-cheap power from natural gas won’t be returning for years – if they ever come back.