Natural Gas Price Rise Less than First Feared

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ Natural gas prices in Kansas are expected to rise far less dramatically than previously feared.

Officials at Black Hills Energy, formerly Aquila, predict a rise of 10 percent to 15 percent over year-ago prices. Black Hills vice president Ivan Vancas told Lawrence city leaders Tuesday that a few months ago the utility expected a rise of up to 40 percent.

The increase could be lower than 10 to 15 percent. Vancas said the company has already purchased about 65 percent of the gas it expects to need this winter at an average price just six percent higher than a year ago.

The South Dakota-based utility also has seen long-term weather forecasts that predict a less severe winter this year, which would drive down the amount of gas consumers would use.


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