June 26, 2003 - Posted at: 10:47 a.m. CDT
Washington --It's not what users of natural gas want to hear. Energy officials say rising demand and falling supply will likely lead to skyrocketing prices and shortages this winter. Costs for food and automobiles may also go up because of higher energy prices.
Energy experts meet today in Washington to try to come up with a strategy to ease the problem. Attention is expected to focus on ways to get industrial users and electric utilities to find alternative fuels -- and how to foster conservation.
Nearly every power plant built in the past six years runs on natural gas. But officials admit there's no quick fix. Gas storage levels this past spring fell to their lowest levels since the government began keeping track in 1976.
Meanwhile, production is declining in overworked wells throughout the Rocky Mountains and in the Gulf of Mexico.