Utilities Reluctant to Predict Winter Heating Costs

SEPTEMBER 8, 2006 - Posted at 11:20 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The lack of an active hurricane season, so far, would seem to mean good news for natural gas consumers as facilities in and near the Gulf of Mexico keep operating, but gas company executives say it's too early to tell where prices will go.

Last year, natural gas prices soared after hurricanes Katrina and Rita damaged production and shipping facilities.

Michael Callan, vice president of Arkansas Oklahomas Gas Company, said it would be mid-October before utilities will have a sense of what winter heating bills will look like.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)