YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — As temperatures drop natural gas users should expect to pay more for home heating.

That’s because natural gas is in short supply. One of the central reasons is that the economy is bouncing back from pandemic shutdowns, but production can’t keep up with the demand.

The U.S. is also a major exporter of natural gas, so we’re also exporting a lot of our supply to other countries facing the same shortage issues.

Laura Greenholt, Shipley Energy’s VP of marketing, explains that could mean higher bills for people who use natural gas.

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“At this point wrap our heads around the fact that we might have a little bit higher of a bill this year than we had in the past,” Greenholt said. “Production can’t turn on a dime, so it takes a while to un-mothball certain plants and production, and there’s also just the natural supply chain shortage.”

Naturally many people aren’t excited about the idea of higher bills, like Theresa Privett, who lives in York.

“We’ll just get sticker shock when and if it happens,” Privett said. “We normally don’t run our temps to the extreme. So hopefully it won’t be too bad for us.”

Jeb Boyd, who lives in Harrisburg, says he’s not that shocked to hear about the higher prices. “I’m not exactly surprised, it’s kinda what happens. There’s cost around everything,” Boyd said.

There are some things people can do to curb costs. Greenholt suggests:

  • Changing from a variable utility rate to a fixed one
  • Investing in home energy efficiency
  • Checking if your supplier offers payment plans to spread out the extra costs
  • Keeping your thermostat a couple degrees lower

“Natural gas prices are up today, but they could fall just as quickly just depending on what happens with all the supply, demand, geopolitics, all of that,” Greenholt said.

Until then she wants customers to stay calm.

“Not to panic right now, but to be prepared. It’s just like everything else we’re seeing going up right now,” Greenholt said.

The problem is impacting much of the world. While natural gas prices in the U.S. are double what they were a year ago, in Europe and Asia they’re more than five times as much.