This was the warmest March in the United States going back to 1895, when National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) began collecting this data. But for the winter heating season (November – March) the data is even more informative. Not only was it the warmest for this period in the United States since 1895, this result was not driven by one or two areas that were exceedingly warm – it was a widespread warmth. Several regions (Northeast, East North Central, Central and Southeast) in the continental United States also had their warmest winter heating season since 1895. And nearly every other region (the West had its 70th warmest year) had a top 10 warmest recorded winter heating season. It is usually big news if even one region sets a new warmest (or coldest) but to have this many simultaneously set new marks is unprecedented.
States that had their warmest heating degree day season this past winter include: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin. Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia experienced their second warmest heating degree day season.
With a winter where the warmth was so widespread and extreme, it is no wonder that working gas in underground storage volumes are so high – 2,479 Bcf at the end of the winter heating season which was also a new “record”. Meanwhile, the price of natural gas is the lowest it has been in a decade.
What will happen and what can do we do with all of this cheap gas?
The physical and financial natural gas market will find a balancing point and America’s natural gas utilities are always planning to meet customer needs for the next winter heating season.
There are also tremendous opportunities for consumers and our nation as a whole through increased applications of natural gas. This includes the residential, commercial and industrial markets; manufacturing and electricity generation and natural gas vehicles. AGA members are investing in upgrading infrastructure and new technologies that will benefit customers and help reach our national goals of improving our environment and increasing our energy security.