Natural gas prices continue steep decline.
Over the last few years, the natural gas market has had as many ups and downs as a roller coaster. Currently, the NYMEX gas futures market has posted some of the lowest numbers seen in years. August 2009 natural gas futures closed at $3.38/MMBtu compared to a closing price of $9.22 at the same time last year. Analysts are stating that the decline in price is due to several bearish factors that have been in place over the last several months. Some of those factors include cooler than normal summer temperatures, high storage levels across the nation, and lack of any serious threat of hurricane damage to the gas-producing region in the Gulf of Mexico. If there is any change in these factors, the market will likely see an upward trend.
The current decline in price is very good news for gas consumers now and into the upcoming winter months. As utilities are locking in these lower prices through the filling of storage and hedging program, which reduce risk by limiting potential losses, customers will benefit by paying lower rates well into the winter heating season. During the month of August 2009, an average residential gas customer in Westfield paid $24.56 for 18 CCF of natural gas. In August 2008, that customer paid $39.43 for the same amount of gas.