Natural gas soars as cold grips homes, drillers

FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, file photo, a pedestrian covers up against cold temperatures. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, file photo, a pedestrian covers up against cold temperatures. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The frigid winter of 2014 is setting the price of natural gas on fire.

Record amounts of natural gas are being burned for heat and electricity — and it’s so cold that drillers are struggling to produce enough to keep up with the high demand.

Friday, the price rose within a whisper of $5 per 1,000 cubic feet, the highest level since June 2010. It’s gained 25 percent in the past two weeks.

Natural gas is used by half the nation’s households for heating, making it the most important heating fuel.

Natural gas and electric customers are sure to see somewhat higher rates in the coming months, but shouldn’t experience sharp increases because natural gas and electric utilities often employ financial strategies that protect residential customers from price spikes.

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