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It may not be very cold outside right now, but the home heating season is not all that far away, and if you heat with natural gas, be prepared to see noticeably higher bills this winter. At Roanoke Gas Company, President and CEO Paul Nester says early estimates project overall rates rising 20% per cent over last winter. The main reasons include higher prices for natural gas supplies, lower national inventories, and significant continuing hurricane impacts. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

Spot market prices for natural gas are about double what they were last winter. Nester says thanks to large hedge purchases some time ago, RGC’s cost will be about 50% more than a year ago, increases that are passed directly to customers. However, overall home bills are expected to be less than that — about 20% higher — because the cost of natural gas is just one component of your overall bill.