Climate czar Biden spiked heat, electricity bills

From Washington Times

By Rowan Scarborough

The price of gasoline is ticking higher now that President Biden has depleted our emergency strategic oil supply to artificially bring down sticker shock and help Democrats in the midterm elections.

But it’s the other gas — natural gas  — that is surging in price, ballooning not just home and business heating and operations costs but also electricity rates. Gas is the U.S.’s lead energy source to power the plants that feed electric grids that light our way of life. Natural gas makes electric vehicles, like the $100,000 model Mr. Biden tweeted on Jan. 30, run.

Natural gas used to be thought of as “clean energy.” Not anymore. Mr. Biden and his climate warrior campaign donors have declared war. It’s as odious to them as oil, the most hated substance since Fritz Haber developed Germany’s World War I poison gas arsenal.

The dynamo tandem of petroleum/natural gas fueled the world’s great advances last century in wealth, technology, health care, transportation, space exploration, life expectancy and nutrition.

But Mr. Biden is sidelining Earth’s bounty, without which we would live and die in physical and mental darkness. 

The president’s allies are pressing financial institutions to stop funding fossil fuel production, though the banks would have to shut down without it, making 1929 look like a wonderful life. I don’t think there is one banker rising high on the virtue pedestal who has any idea how the firm would operate without them. But the climate warrior status is too good to resist — and you get the all-important positive press.

Mr. Biden says the answer to filling the natural gas gap is to put thousands of windmills out to sea. We are finding out they may well be killing sea life. We know they shred birds and beneficial insects. The carnage used to drive environmentalists to protest and block and burn. But now, they say, windmills kill far fewer birds than house cats, so who cares.

In 2006, Sen. Ted Kennedy blocked windmills off Cape Cod that would spoil his vacation home view. Whale watchers need a new champion.

From the starting gate, Mr. Biden targeted the natural gas industry. In January 2021, giddy over the thought of more campaign donors after spending over $1 billion to win the election, he signed executive orders making public land off-limits to exploration.

When the president high-fives the death of fossil fuels, its price sat at $2.71 per million BTUs, according to U.S. government stats. By year’s end, the cost nearly doubled to $5.05. In 2022, the spot-check price reached $8.81 in August before falling back to $5.53.

Washington Gas, the supplier for “swamp” creatures, has raised the per-therm, or TH, consumer costs by 50%.

This goes unnoticed by the super-rich lobbyists, PR types, federal contractors and lawyers who encircle our government.

But regular people are noticing.

In San Diego, for example, KUSI News reported on a diner that saw its gas bill shoot up from $2,200 to over $8,000. KUSI said that climate warriors are to blame.

“State and city politicians move to ban natural gas, and suddenly small businesses are choking on their energy bills,” said the report, filmed while fired-up stoves cooked diner fare.

According to government figures, the average price of natural gas per “therm” rose from $2 in December 2021 to $2.38 a year later.

In 2021, the average annual price at the Henry Hub trading site in Louisiana for wholesale natural gas was $3.91 for 1 million BTUs. The average in 2022: $6.48, a 66% increase.

In 2019-20, when Donald Trump was president, the average price was $2.08. Post-Biden throttling, the price sat at $4.51 in 2021-22 — more than doubling.

For natural gas-powered electricity, the kilowatt-hour (KWH) rate paid by homeowners and businesses was 0.136 cents in January 2021, when Mr. Biden began his energy magic.

By next January, the price was .147 cents, and by the end of the year .165 cents. 

Higher gas-electric bills all around.

Washington Gas gives these reasons for price increases: “This year, natural gas market prices are higher based on many factors such as the economic recovery from COVID-19, increased natural gas demand from last winter, and slower than anticipated production.”

Got that. “Slower than anticipated production.”

I asked the Natural Gas Supply Association, the people keeping us warm as climate change failed to stop what we call “winter,”  if the drilling ban hinders production.

A spokesperson said the big drawback right now: pipelines. As stated earlier, Mr. Biden doesn’t want them. Deep-blue states who like banning stuff followed his lead.

“The greater challenge by far for the industry is a lack of sufficient pipeline capacity in specific regions of the country, Northeast; California,” the association says. “Boston/NYC area — we need more pipeline capacity up in that area, but New York keeps canceling and stalling natural gas pipeline permits.”

The association put together a graphic headlined “Cancelled, Delayed Pipelines Continue in Northeast.”

It says 7 billion cubic feet per day of lines have been stalled or canceled since 2018. It won’t surprise you that the majority, 5 BCFD, happened on Mr. Biden’s watch. Our energy infrastructure is shrinking versus demand.

Look at this stat: “The lack of pipeline capacity means that on the coldest days, there’s a rush to compete for natural gas. For example, today it is cold in the Northeast, and the regional price of natural gas in Boston went from $12 [per unit] to $66 overnight.”

That’s a fivefold increase, compliments of Mr. Biden.

To bat away questions, he lies. Asked about his role in creating inflation, he said it “was already there when I got here.”

The inflation rate when he took office was a healthy 1.2%. He blew it up by curtailing energy production, driving up costs that migrate through prices for everything.

Mr. Biden’s fantasy biography has told of many heroic feats. I want him to tell us at some public event about the day he got a supersonic jet fighter in the air on windmill fuel.

• Rowan Scarborough is a columnist with The Washington Times.