Natural gas prices in New Brunswick jumped by 12 per cent this month just as another heating season begins.
Just 18 months ago, natural gas prices hit an all-time low in New Brunswick. But they escalated rapidly last winter when supplies from Nova Scotia's depleted Sable Island gas fields were temporarily interrupted.
The continuing price increases are difficult to deal with for Kim Steele. She owns Saint John's East Coast Bistro and uses natural gas appliances in her kitchen.
"It has gone up more than we thought this year," said Steele, who is a customer of Enbridge.
Steele's restaurant has been hit with six natural gas price increases this year, including the 12 per cent jump this month. The restaurant now pays 60 per cent more for natural gas than it did in November 2012.
Those increases have Steele looking to save where she can.
"We're closed on Sundays so we will turn our pilots off on Saturday night and turn them back on Monday morning and even on that little bit of gas savings, I notice on my bill at the end of the month," she said.
"It's a big deal. It's a lot."
Steve Schurman of Moncton is another natural gas customer who has taken note of all the increases.
"I thought, `Where's the mistake? There's got to be a mistake if it went from $485 to $700. Where's the mistake?" said Schurman.
Despite the increases, natural gas is still cheaper to heat with than oil or electricity, but not as cheap as it once was. The current gas price is the highest it has been in November in five years.