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Local natural gas customers brace for higher prices

Local natural gas customers brace for higher prices
Posted at 7:25 PM, Oct 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-01 23:19:07-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The large, hot flames used to heat woks as chefs prepare meals at the Dokyo Dauntaun restaurant in Downtown Corpus Christi require a lot of natural gas.

So far, restaurant leaders haven't noticed a spike in the price for that fuel.

"We’re aware that everything is costing more with inflation and everything that’s been going on," Dokyo general manager Jeromy Garza said. "But as of right now, we haven’t noticed the gas prices increases yet.”

They likely will in the coming months.

The Associated Press reports that natural gas prices have more than doubled in the past year with supplies down and demand up in Europe and China.

It will mean a higher gas bill for businesses like Dokyo, and for families who use it to heat their homes.

But the news isn't all bad.

“It must mean the economy is rebounding, because demand is up and supply hasn’t caught up," American Gas Association President and CEO Karen Harbert said. "So that is a silver lining. However, nobody wants to pay more on their utility bills or at the gas tank.”

If the price increase leaves you unable to pay your natural gas bill, Harbert recommends contacting your gas company.

"In the winter time, utilities won’t cut off your gas by and large, because that’s just not the thing they do," she said. "And many laws prevent us from doing it."

Good food and happy customers mean Dokyo's been able to pay the gas bill.

But if the price increase starts affecting the bottom line, Garza says they'll be ready to make changes.

“It will affect the business," he said. "But it’s been a tough year. We’ve gotten this far. So whatever we need to do, whether it’s price increases or figuring out different budgeting, we’ll pull through.”