As Americans Face The ‘Costliest Winter In Decades’ They’ll Know Democrats’ Energy Policies Are To Blame

The Biden Administration Has Spent Nearly Two Years Strangling Affordable American Energy Production And Infrastructure, Leaving Families Facing Huge Double-Digit Increases In Prices For Almost Every Fuel They Use To Heat Their Homes

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Families across America have felt the brunt of this all-Democratic government’s failed energy policies…. American families and small businesses know their electricity bills skyrocketed this spring and summer. And they know that heating costs on Democrats’ watch this fall and winter may be catastrophic…. Just like our overall 13.2% inflation since January 2021 is directly traceable to Democrats’ reckless spending, a lot of our energy crisis is traceable to Democrats’ shortsighted policies. Democrats have spent 20 years saying we shouldn’t explore for American energy. That our abundant fossil fuel resources should stay in the ground…. Democrats supported President Biden’s de facto bans on both offshore and onshore oil and gas leasing. They backed President Biden’s decision to cancel Keystone XL. I guess it’s better to import Middle Eastern crude than safely transport oil from Canada. They voted for reckless tax hikes, including a natural gas tax that will directly drive up families’ heating costs.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 9/29/2022)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “No American President has done more to make the U.S. more dependent on foreign energy than Mr. Biden has in less than two years. He came into office promising to slash U.S. oil and gas production, and his regulators and the Democratic Congress are doing everything they can to make drilling difficult and investment non-economic.” (Editorial, “The Saudis Snub Biden Again,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/05/2022)


Regardless Of How Americans Heat Their Homes, ‘This Winter Is Shaping Up To Be The Costliest For Heating In A Generation’

“Utility companies are raising rates across the country, sending consumers and the assistance programs many rely on racing to prepare for a costly winter…. Nearly half of U.S. households use natural gas to heat their homes, and they will spend 28% more to do so this winter, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projected Wednesday. Those who use heating oil … will spend 27% more — barring a colder forecast — and homes that primarily use electricity and propane will pay 10% and 5% more, respectively.” (“‘All That Money’s Gone’: Utility Hikes Set Off Scramble To Pay For Heat This Winter,” NBC News, 10/13/2022)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “Winter is coming, and Americans may get a cold shock when they get their heating bills, according to a report released last week by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) that deserves more attention. Bundle up and set your thermostat at 68 degrees, or prepare to pay a bundle. Average U.S. household spending will increase for all heating fuels this winter (October through March) … Coal plant shutdowns in particular have increased demand for natural gas to generate power.” (Editorial, “Get Ready for the Big Chill,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/18/2022)

Supplies Of Fuel Oil Are At A 30-Year Low, While Prices Are Up 27%

“This winter is shaping up to be the costliest for heating in a generation -- especially for households in the US Northeast that must burn oil to stay warm. With temperatures already dropping, the US has just a 26-day supply of heating oil to draw on, the smallest store for this time of year in at least three decades. National inventories of the fuel are once again at the lowest seasonal point in weekly data going to 1982, according to the Energy Information Administration.” (“With Just 26 Days of Heating Oil, US Households Face Costliest Winter in Decades,” Bloomberg, 10/13/2022)

  • “U.S. consumers can expect to pay up to 28% more to heat their homes this winter than last year due to surging fuel costs and slightly colder weather, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projected in its winter fuels outlook… 12 million homes rely on heating oil or propane - about 9% of the roughly 130 million U.S. households - but those fuels will remain the most expensive sources of heat this winter with cost increases of 27% to $2,354 for heating oil and 5% to $1,668 for propane. Homes that rely on heating oil are concentrated in the Northeast, while the biggest propane users are in the Midwest.” (“U.S. Home Heating Bills Expected To Surge This Winter -EIA,” Reuters, 10/12/2022)

Natural Gas Stockpiles Are Also Depleted, While Prices Are Up 28%

“Today, the price of natural gas is at levels not seen in more than a decade. NEADA estimates that 91% of Americans' heating and cooling costs are tied to the price of natural gas, whether directly or as the primary energy source used to create electricity.” (NBC News, 9/22/2022)

  • “[M]any states are now facing depleted natural gas stockpiles. As they begin to purchase more natural gas at current prices to offset the shortfall, customers will likely face higher bills in the coming months.” (NBC News, 9/22/2022)

“Nearly half of U.S. households rely on natural gas for heat, with the average winter heating cost expected to rise to $931, up by 28% from last year, EIA said. The average cost to heat a home with gas last winter was $724, far cheaper than other major sources of heat. U.S. gas prices at the Henry Hub benchmark were up about 75% this year as soaring global prices feed demand for U.S. exports due to supply disruptions...” (“U.S. Home Heating Bills Expected To Surge This Winter -EIA,” Reuters, 10/12/2022)

Electricity Prices Are Up 10% From Last Year And Bills Are Increasing Across The Country

“Electricity is the primary heating source for about 40% of homes. It is more expensive than gas at an estimated $1,359 per household this winter… a 10% increase from last winter.” (“U.S. Home Heating Bills Expected To Surge This Winter -EIA,” Reuters, 10/12/2022)

“A representative for Appalachian Power said the monthly bill for the average residential customer in Virginia using 1,000 kilowatt-hours will go from $123.33 to about $157 by the end of the year. About 60% of the regional hike is related to higher fuel costs, the representative said…. Georgia Power is seeking permission to increase electricity rates a total of 12% over the next three years. Dominion Energy, which operates in several states, applied for a 14% rate hike for South Carolina consumers that could take effect as early as next month. Duke Energy customers in Indiana were recently hit with a 7% hike after a temporary 16% increase just this summer. Nationwide, investor-owned utilities have requested rate increases amounting to nearly $12 billion from the beginning of the year through the end of August, according to S&P Global.” (“‘All That Money’s Gone’: Utility Hikes Set Off Scramble To Pay For Heat This Winter,” NBC News, 10/13/2022)


New England In Particular Is Bracing For High Prices And Faces The Possibility Of Rolling Blackouts As Democrat Energy Policies Have Shuttered Affordable Power Generation And Blocked Natural Gas Infrastructure

“New England power producers are preparing for potential strain on the grid this winter as a surge in natural-gas demand abroad threatens to reduce supplies they need to generate electricity…. Severe cold spells in the Northeast could reduce the amount of gas available to generate electricity as more of it is burned to heat homes. The region’s power-grid operator, ISO New England Inc., has warned that an extremely cold winter could strain the reliability of the grid and potentially result in the need for rolling blackouts to keep electricity supply and demand in balance. The warning comes as executives and analysts predict power producers could have to pay as much as several times more than last year for gas deliveries if severe weather creates urgent need for spot-market purchases.” (“New England Risks Winter Blackouts as Gas Supplies Tighten,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/27/2022)

“New England residents are facing some of their largest electricity bills in years and are likely to pay even more this winter because of higher gas prices. Utilities purchase electricity from generators on the wholesale market and recoup those costs from customers.” (“New England Risks Winter Blackouts as Gas Supplies Tighten,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/27/2022)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: Another problem is New York’s blockade on pipelines transporting natural gas from Appalachia. Northeasterners who use oil for heating will spend on average $2,354 this winter, up from $1,212 two years ago…. Democrats in Albany who are blocking the gas pipelines aren’t content with raising energy costs in their own state. They want people in neighboring states to shiver too. New York’s pipeline obstruction is forcing New England to import more liquefied natural gas (LNG) from overseas, which costs multiples more than domestic gas…. All of which means that Americans will pay again for the Democratic Party’s war on fossil fuels.” (Editorial, “Get Ready for the Big Chill,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/18/2022)

With 40% Of New Hampshire Homes Relying On Fuel Oil, Some Granite Staters Are Asking, ‘Do I Buy Groceries Or Do I Put Oil In My House?’

“Granite State homeowners prepare for a rise in oil prices before the end of 2022…. More than 40% of New Hampshire homes rely on fuel oil as their main heat source. Alisha Cruz, of Manchester, said she is not sure what she is going to do. ‘It's hard because you're like, “do I buy groceries or do I put oil in my house?”’ Cruz said.” (“Home Heating Oil Prices Set To Skyrocket In Winter,” WMUR, 8/12/2022)

‘New England’s Challenges Are Becoming More Acute As Older Coal, Oil And Nuclear-Fueled Generators Shut, Leaving Gas-Fired Ones To Serve A Greater Percentage Of Demand’ But ‘The Region Has Limited Pipeline Capacity’ And Imports Much Of Its Natural Gas

“New England’s challenges are becoming more acute as older coal, oil and nuclear-fueled generators shut, leaving gas-fired ones to serve a greater percentage of demand. Since 2013, about 5,200 megawatts of that capacity has retired, according to the New England ISO, an amount equal to roughly a quarter of peak winter demand. Some older plants risk closing faster than they can be replaced by renewable-energy projects, which account for the majority of new capacity proposed for the region. The changes to the region’s power mix have left it increasingly reliant on imports of gas as well as oil to power the remaining plants …” (“New England Risks Winter Blackouts as Gas Supplies Tighten,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/27/2022)

“New England has been grappling with fuel-supply challenges for more than a decade because the region has limited pipeline capacity. Imports of LNG can make up more than a third of the region’s natural-gas supply during periods of peak demand, according to the Energy Information Administration. The Jones Act, a law restricting the movement of ships between U.S. ports, makes maritime delivery of domestic supplies nearly impossible, so the region relies on gas produced abroad.” (“New England Risks Winter Blackouts as Gas Supplies Tighten,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/27/2022)


For Almost 2 Years, The Biden Administration Has Used Every Available Policy Lever To Make Energy Scarcer And Less Affordable For Americans

SEN. SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO (R-WV), Senate EPW Committee Ranking Member: “The [Biden] administration has canceled pipelines, rescinded previously-issued approvals for others, and raised barriers to building new ones. They have frozen oil and gas leasing and proposed raising royalties – costs that will be passed on to every consumer. They are revising the NEPA environmental review process, undoing the streamlining that was done during 2020 to speed up project delivery. Biden’s EPA has hammered small refineries – including the one in my state – by denying hardship relief that could immediately help lower fuel prices. And Biden’s EPA has also announced a proposal under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act to make it easier for activists to prevent infrastructure projects…. This administration is fiercely determined to kill the oil and gas sector and baseload power sector in this country—rule-by-rule—executive action by executive action and hardworking Americans are paying for it at the pump. The American people see what’s happening here: Democrats want to continue layering on more regulations and legislation that will keep passing more and more costs onto the consumer… All while the Biden administration is working as hard as it can to shutter baseload coal and natural gas energy production and electricity.” (Sen. Capito, Remarks, 6/22/2022)

FERC COMMISSIONER JAMES P. DANLY: “In a series of orders over the last year, FERC has seemingly done everything it can to undermine the wholesale electricity markets…. Through these orders, FERC has placed its thumb firmly on the scale in favor of intermittent resources and against the generators that provide critical reliability in the organized electric markets. As natural gas costs go up due to supply constraints and burdensome regulation, the all-in cost of electricity will rise while electric reliability is threatened. FERC, however, is not the only federal agency that has natural gas and other forms of reliable, affordable energy in its sights. While FERC’s actions obstruct the development of new pipeline infrastructure, the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is contemplating onerous over-regulation of existing infrastructure, in a move greatly expanding its jurisdiction. On the production side, the Department of the Interior has hindered leasing processes for the development of new sources of energy on federal lands.” (U.S. Senate Energy Committee Hearing, 3/03/2022)

  • DANLY: “Perhaps most insidiously, the federal government is taking aim at financing natural gas and other forms of reliable, affordable energy. A constellation of federal financial regulatory agencies have begun rulemakings to codify requirements aimed at shaming companies away from investing in reliable, affordable energy, while shielding fiduciaries from liability for making otherwise economically unjustifiable decisions.” (U.S. Senate Energy Committee Hearing, 3/03/2022)

Earlier This Year, The Democrat Majority Controlling The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Proposed New Regulations That Would Make It Even Harder To Extract And Transport Natural Gas

“Top U.S. senators from both parties on Thursday grilled Democratic energy regulators who recently approved guidelines for approving new natural gas projects that allow consideration of environmental justice, landowner and climate issues. The three Democrats on the five-member Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) voted in February to update the guidelines, for the first time since 1999, a move that analysts say could present hurdles for new gas projects. The two Republicans on the panel opposed the guidelines.” (“U.S. Senators Grill Regulators Over Climate Policy On Natural Gas Projects,” Reuters, 3/03/2022)

FERC COMMISSIONER JAMES P. DANLY: “The inevitable effect of these policy statements will be to chill investment in natural gas and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) infrastructure…. These policy statements do nothing but create uncertainty. They have thrown the entire process of planning, financing, and applying for a natural gas pipeline certificate or approval for an LNG terminal into disarray…. The policy statements also cause unnecessary and unjustifiable delay in what is an already lengthy process…. These policies will have a direct effect on electric rates and reliability. The bulk power system and the natural gas pipeline system are deeply intertwined.” (U.S. Senate Energy Committee Hearing, 3/03/2022)

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY), Senate Energy Committee Ranking Member: “FERC’s destructive new policies will make it nearly impossible to build or upgrade any natural gas infrastructure. They will choke the world’s most efficient and safe natural gas delivery network.” (Sen. Barrasso, Press Release, 3/23/2022)

LEADER McCONNELL: “As Americans struggle with the worst inflation in 40 years, including natural gas prices up 24 percent compared to just one year ago, it will not help American families to further restrict supply and make it nearly impossible to approve the very pipeline projects that could put more natural gas on the market. At a time when we should be looking for ways to expedite the approval of these important projects, the Commission has chosen on a purely partisan basis to do the exact opposite. Erecting new roadblocks to affordable, abundant energy makes no sense, particularly in this tenuous time.” (Sen. McConnell, Letter to FERC Chairman Richard Glick, 3/24/2022)


When Senate Republicans Tried To Protect Americans From These Policy Mistakes, Democrats Voted No

All 50 Senate Democrats voted against Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) amendment to eliminate the tax increase that would result in higher consumer prices for gasoline, heating oil, and other energy sources for Americans earning less than $400,000 per year. (S. Amdt. 5301, H.R. 5376, Roll Call Vote #289: Amendment Rejected 50-50: D 0-48; R 50-0; I 0-2, 8/07/2022)

49 Senate Democrats voted against Sen. Dan Sullivan’s (R-AK) amendment to expand natural gas use as a reliable and affordable heat, electricity, and transportation fuel for consumers. (S.Amdt. 461 to S.Con.Res. 5, Roll Call Vote #50: Motion Rejected 51-49, D 1-47, R 50-0, I 0-2, 2/5/2021)

47 Senate Democrats voted against Sen. John Hoeven’s (R-ND) amendment to promote the use and expansion of energy resources to prevent blackouts and improve electric reliability. (S.Amdt. 3243 to S.Con.Res. 14, Roll Call Vote #346: 52-47: D 3-45, R 49-0, I 0-2, 8/11/2021)



Related Issues: Senate Democrats, Energy