Florida's Energy Crisis

Capacity for fuel and natural gas is now at 95 percent nationwide, and half of Florida’s gas supply comes from the western Gulf. State officials and utility companies are working to get more supplies and asking you to conserve.

You’ll probably see the first effects of Hurricane Rita at the gas pump, and then on your electric bill. Wholesale oil and gas prices have already jumped, but the main concern is avoiding shortages. The Florida Petroleum Council is monitoring the supply.

Eric Hamilton says, “After this weekend that depends a lot on how much damage this storm has done. If it’s light impact, then hopefully we’ll have supplies coming in continuously.”

With 21 refineries down in the nation’s energy rich Gulf of Mexico, utility companies across the state are urging consumers to turn up the thermostat.

State officials say the shortages of fuel and natural gas could be even worse than the situation right after Katrina because supplies are still down.

Cragin Mosteller of the Department of Environmental Protection says, “I think we’ll see stronger impacts than we did from Katrina because when Katrina hit we were able to implement contingency plans which meant using the refineries in Texas and really using them to their full capacity.”

The Department of Environmental Protection is working to get more gas from overseas, but in the meantime the best thing Floridians can do is conserve until the Gulf refineries are back in business.

State officials say the supply of fuel in the state is at normal levels at this point. They don’t expect to see a drop in supply for the next two to three days.