Katrina's Last Laugh: Winter Blackouts Likely

According to a report released last week by the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), a trade association representing gas pipeline companies, the impact of the recent harsh hurricane season on the Gulf coast may mean natural gas shortages in coming months, just as utilities and homeowners buckle down for a colder-than-expected winter. The first natural gas consumers to feel the pinch will be the utilities themselves, which may resort to planned rolling blackouts of electricity service as a result. Residential natural gas customers reliant on the fuel for home heating may have to pay higher bills this winter, but suppliers don’t expect them to be left in the cold.

New England, which is heavily reliant on natural gas and suffers through bitterly cold winters, is likely to suffer the most in the form of more frequent rolling electricity blackouts. But depending on the weather, other regions may be hit hard as well. “The Southeast, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and New York, they’re all going to feel this,” energy expert Richard Levitan told reporters. But those Midwestern and Southern states that have more diversified fuel sources, such as nuclear and coal, are less likely to experience power outages.

Source: http://csmonitor.com/2005/1129/p01s02-usec.html