After years of historic lows, a consensus is building among market observers around forecasts for higher natural gas prices over the next few years, making now one of the last opportunities for Georgia customers to shop for a low natural gas rate.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a major natural gas trade association sees, "increased pressure on natural gas prices," this summer, which continues a trend seen over the past year.

Although the United States still has abundant shale natural gas supplies, the low price of natural gas has spurred new demand, which in turn places upward pressure on prices.

In particular, natural gas is once again being used increasingly for electricity generation at power plants, both because of its low price, and because of new environmental regulations on coal-fired power plants.

Increased use of natural gas in electricity production puts a huge draw on current gas supplies, and is largely driving a nearly doubling of average natural gas prices over the past year (from $2 to almost $4 per mmbtu)

Although the shale gas revolution will keep natural gas prices well below the spikes seen from 2005-2008, the era of ridiculously cheap natural gas may be ending.

That means it may be one of the last times that customers at Atlanta Gas Light and other natural gas utilities have the opportunity to find a new natural gas rate at the market low.

Georgia gas customers should find the lowest natural gas rate this summer, before heating season begins.