HOUSTON - When the weather finally turns cold this year, the cost to heat your home is expected to go up, considerably, like so many things. After an exceptionally hot summer, the Farmer's Almanac predicts a colder than normal winter for Texas.
Together, all that extreme weather will make it expensive to stay comfortable in the coming months.
Houston energy analyst Andy Lipow says the costs for electricity in Texas have risen steadily throughout the year.
"I think the consumer's going to be surprised when they see their winter heating costs go up by 40% on the natural gas side," he says.
With more than a third of the state's electricity needs provided by natural gas-powered generation, and continuing pressure to reduce that footprint in favor of renewable sources like wind and solar, natural gas prices are up by about 50% over the same time last year.
Still we continue to use a lot of electricity.
Through the hottest part of the year, ERCOT warned Texas customers twice to conserve electricity out of concern there might not be enough. Now, that demand is still being felt.
"With the hot weather we've experienced around the country, increasing the demand for air conditioning, that has prevented increasing inventories in advance of winter," says Lipow.
We're not alone in this. In Paris, the Eiffel Tower is being darkened at night to conserve power as Europe is facing critical shortages linked to the war in Ukraine.
Gas and electricity prices are eight times as expensive as the U.S. there as here, producers are trying to make up the difference. However, with an uncertain appetite for fossil fuel, there is reluctance to go too far, meaning higher prices could remain.
"Worldwide, we're scrambling for alternative sources for energy, so I don't believe this is a temporary thing," says Lipow.