N.Y. says it will have enough power/natgas this winter, prices to rise

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A man stands with an umbrella at the Junction Boulevard stop of the 7 subway train line in the Queens borough of New York January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/Files

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Oct 7 (Reuters) - New York utility regulators said on Thursday the state's utilities will have enough natural gas and power to meet demand this winter, but that energy costs will likely be higher this year than last due to higher commodity prices.

The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) made its comments as natural gas prices around the world have soared to record highs, prompting some manufacturers in Europe to shut operations and power shortages in several Chinese provinces.

On average, a residential customer using 600 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month is expected to pay about $43 per month for supply, but the amount varies by utility, the PSC said.

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Meanwhile, the average residential customer using 740 therms of natural gas can expect to pay about $935 from November through March, up from last winter, which was milder than normal.

The PSC said that between financial hedges and gas held in storage, gas utilities have hedged approximately 53% of their estimated statewide customer needs.

The PSC said it will closely monitor areas of the state where demand is growing at a faster pace, and where existing distribution systems are becoming constrained.

Some in the energy industry have criticized the state for causing those gas constraints by not allowing gas companies to build new pipelines in recent years, including Williams Cos Inc's (WMB.N) proposed Constitution pipe from Pennsylvania to New York and the Northeast Supply Enhancement in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. read more

Both of those projects would have boosted the state's ability to pull in more gas from Pennsylvania.

The PSC also said it contacted power plant owners in Southeast New York with about 12,000 megawatts (MW) of dual fuel generation and found the companies increased their on-site fuel reserves and have firm contracts with fuel oil suppliers.

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Reporting by Scott DiSavino; editing by Barbara Lewis

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