Natural gas rallied slightly again yesterday and climbed as high as $4.10 before retreating and settling up 3 cents on the day at $4.037. The weather forecast hasn’t changed except that the 6 to 10 day forecast shows colder weather coming a little bit further south than was predicted last week. The EIA reported that production in December increased 0.2% from 66.60 bcf/day to 66.76 bcf/day as compared to November. Even though production is up slightly and cold weather in the short term does not seem to be an issue, some traders believe that the natural gas market has the ability to get back up to the $5.00 within the next 3 months or potentially higher.
On the electricity competitive front this morning, Constellation Energy, the nation's leading competitive electricity supplier to business and public sector customers, announced it will offer 2.2 million Northeastern Illinois residential electric consumers up to 12 percent savings compared to Commonwealth Edison's current Basic Electric Service (BES) residential rate. Constellation Energy is offering homeowners and renters who are currently ComEd customers two ways to save on electricity: a 12-month pricing plan with an estimated 6-8 percent savings and a 24-month pricing plan offering an estimated 10-12 percent savings compared to current ComEd pricing for BES residential (non-electric space heating) electric generation service. For customers who choose Constellation Energy, ComEd will continue to bill the account, deliver electricity over the same poles and wires, and handle inquiries about service outages. By state law, customers can switch to a competitive electric supplier and it will have no impact on utility service reliability.
In less than a year, federal regulations will begin phasing out the century-old technology of incandescent bulbs, a process that's already begun in California, which received a waiver to launch the program one year early. Manufacturers will no longer make the traditional 100-watt bulb, and stores eventually will sell out of current supplies. Consumers will have to choose from more efficient bulbs that use no more than 72 watts, including halogen incandescents, compact fluorescents and light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. "These standards will help cut our nation's electric bill by over $10 billion a year and will save the equivalent electricity as 30 large power plants," said Noah Horowitz, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. "That translates into a whole lot less global warming pollution being emitted." The change is part of the federal Energy Independence and Security Act that President George W. Bush signed into law in 2007 to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The act requires new bulbs to use 25 to 30 percent less energy beginning in 2012 - starting with the 100-watt bulb. By 2014, other incandescent bulbs, including the 75-, 60- and 40-watt, also will be phased out across the country. Some specialty bulbs, however, will continue to be available. Consumers still will be able to get smaller lights such as yellow bug lights and aquarium bulbs. Light bulb manufacturers said they haven't received any reports of customers hoarding 100-watt bulbs yet, though that may change once supplies begin to dry up and word gets out.
U.S. regulators granted the first deepwater drilling permit since the Deepwater Horizon spill shut Gulf of Mexico drilling in April 2010. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management approved a permit for Noble Energy to drill in the Mississippi Canyon area of the Gulf, about 70 miles south of the Louisiana coast.