An early snow and some of the first sustained cold temperatures of the year are here in Baltimore, and it’s not even winter yet. Though the snow looks to be over for the time being, temperatures aren’t expected to get out of the 30’s anytime this week, and there’s a chance of a wintry mix on Saturday. It looks like the cold is here to stay.
In addition to the snow, cold temperatures have also brought higher heating prices. About half of the country relies on natural gas for heating, and the cold temperatures caused a spike in demand for natural gas. According to the Wall Street Journal, the demand for natural gas was over 10% higher in the last week of November than analysts had predicted. Demand for natural gas is expected to continue to increase as the cold sets in. Though the discovery of new natural gas fields and the increase in shale drilling have increased the supply of natural gas, consumers haven’t seen the benefits of this increase in supply. Bottlenecks in pipelines can prevent the supply from meeting the demand, and cold weather can also damage distribution networks, further limiting supply.
So what’s the result? Market research shows demand is up and supply is steady, at best, meaning prices are going up. The U.S. Energy Administration is predicting a 13% increase in heating costs this year for households that use natural gas, making their expected average winter heating bill $679. While this is actually lower than the five-year U.S. average, it’s no small amount. Congress is also expected to set aside only $3 billion in heating assistance this year, compared to $5.1 billion in 2010.
If you’re looking to make up the anticipated 13% increase in heating costs expected this year, consider getting paid for your opinion in a market research study at Observation Baltimore. Whether it’s focus groups or IDIs, we pay CASH to individuals who participate in our qualitative studies at our Baltimore research facility. If you want to take part in one of these studies, please:
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