Government Losing Grip on Natural Gas Pricing?

When natural gas prices were deregulated in the 1990s, your bills were supposed to go down. You may have noticed that’s not what happened. Lester Graham reports the government has had a difficult time determining why:


When natural gas prices were deregulated in the 1990s, your bills were supposed to go down. You may have noticed that’s not what happened. Lester Graham reports the government has had a difficult time determining why:

There are three things that affect the price you pay for natural gas. The first is the local distribution system that gets the gas to your home. The second is the national pipeline distribution system. Those prices haven’t changed that much since deregulation.

But the third portion of your bill, the portion that makes up the bulk of it, has nearly doubled since deregulation of the natural gas market in 1993. The commodity price used to make up about 30% of the consumer price. Today, it’s more like 60% of your bill.

The Government Accountability Office reports, since deregulation, even though the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission doesn’t control natural gas prices, it’s supposed to make sure the prices are fair. But, since there are millions of natural gas commodity transactions, the Commission says it’s hard to tell if there’s any market manipulation that could cause prices to rise unfairly.

For the Environment Report, this is Lester Graham.

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