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It’s time to lock in a natural gas price

The Globe and Mail
Monday, January 23, 2012
Rob Carrick

The same events that have rocked the financial world are also presenting opportunities for us to exert some control over the cost of living.

Natural gas prices are a good example. They’ve hit 10-year lows recently thanks mainly to a combination of new production coming on stream, a warm winter and a decline in demand related to global economic weakness. Unless you think we’re headed toward a lengthy recession that will keep the price of commodities low indefinitely, now’s a good time to lock in a natural gas price for the next five years at a very attractive rate.

One of the most disturbing things about the past few years is how vulnerable we’ve all become to financial events that are far removed from our everyday existence. The developments themselves are shocking, but so is the feeling of having no control over our lives.

Compare lock-in rates for natural gas on the Energyshop website or by Googling “natural gas contracts.” Prices vary by a surprising degree, which raises the question of whether there’s any risk in going with the lowest-cost firm.

“There’s no risk in signing up with the lowest cost provider, even if you haven’t heard of them,” Mr. MacLellan said. He argues that if your supplier goes bankrupt, its contracts would be bought by a competitor.

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