"Natural gas bills are going to go up for our customers."
It's Mother Nature versus the thermostat. The fight against the cold weather is just beginning, and this winter it could get messy.
"They could go up as much as 40-60 percent over the same time period as last winter. So certainly it's a concern for our customers and a concern for us."
Bill Greer says Atmos Energy is in the same corner as the consumer though because high gas prices don't actually bring in bigger profits for the company.
"A customer’s bill is made up of the cost of the gas itself. The rate the company charges is the rate tot deliver that gas. It's regulated by the Public Service Commission."
That rate has been the same since 1999.
"The huge swing that a customer sees is a swing in the cost of the gas."
The one-two punch of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita only add to the already-high demand for natural gas and tight supplies of domestic natural gas production.
"Have caused some losses of production in the Gulf of Mexico. It's a North American product and much of it comes from the Gulf of Mexico."
Although your wallet may get bruised from paying your gas bill, Greer says conserving energy is the best way to avoid a total knockout.
Consumer can manage their energy bills by taking the following steps: 1.) Enroll in budget billing 2.) Use energy more efficiently 3.) Apply now for energy assistance if you qualify.
Here is a link to more information about the winter gas supply: http://www.aga.og/Template.cfm?Section=.