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Natural gas supply worries arise

New England’s increasing reliance on natural gas has regional energy officials worried about potential shortages over the next few years that could disrupt electricity production, especially if the area is hit with an extremely cold winter.

Abundant supplies and falling prices have led many power producers and home and business owners to switch to natural gas in recent years, but federal energy officials and the operator of the region’s power grid, ISO New England, say they are concerned that pipeline capacity is not keeping up with growing demand. In the case of an extended snap of very low winter temperatures and a rise in heating demand, pipelines might not be able to transport enough gas for both homes and power producers, leading to cutbacks in electricity generation and possible power interruptions, according to a study by ISO New England.

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