Winter heating bills were expected to be higher this year than last – then the hurricanes hit. The Public Service Commission has approved natural gas price increases of between 25-and-45 percent, reflecting an increase in the wholesale price of gas. PSC Chairman Jeff Davis says prices had been predicted to rise steeply and the damage done by the hurricanes drove prices even higher. Some of the top utilities in Missouri, including AmerenUE and Missouri Gas Energy, have requested steep price increases to offset the jump in wholesale natural gas prices, requests that have been approved by the PSC.