PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — If you run a ski resort, sell snow blowers or own a natural gas well, today’s temperatures are a bummer.

But if you’re one of the 51 percent who relies on natural gas for heating, you say ole!

With the mercury at 54 degrees, say muchas gracias to “La Nina.” Not only are these warmer temperatures keeping snow at bay, they are knocking down our natural gas bills.

“Columbia Gas customers in general are benefiting from a 36-percent decrease in natural gas costs compared to this time last year,” says Rachel Ford of Columbia Gas.

And, as long as it stays unseasonable, natural gas stockpiles keep increasing. They are currently 17-percent above the five-year average, according to the Department of Energy.

“But the other thing to consider, Mary Robb, is that we have a greater amount of natural gas these days being used for the generation of electricity,” says Dr. Kent Moors of Duquesne University’s Institute for Energy and the Environment, “and so that means if natural gas is low so will electric bills.”

Unless production declines or temperatures fall, there could be a surplus of natural gas never seen before.

“We have some locations now in which over 90 percent pipeline capacity is being used for storage – not for transport,” Dr. Moors said.

Predictions for January, February and March from the National Weather Service are running 10-to-15-degrees above normal with temperatures in the 40’s and 50’s.

Enjoy the savings while you can. New options are on the horizon which will increase the demand for natural gas and within six months to a year, the market will be back.

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