The California Energy Commission chair this week backed up a report that would saddle consumers with coping with volatile natural gas prices. During an October 4 press conference on natural gas issues, commission chair Joe Desmond emphasized that dampening price volatility is the responsibility of consumers, not regulators. "The most effective thing the CEC can do" is promulgate energy-savings tips, said Desmond. ?We still have some time before winter sets in in the next two months? to weatherize and install efficiency measures, he said, without proposing state measures to lower prices. The report considers conservation an economic boon or bust to the state. "Even a 10 percent reduction in natural gas prices will keep an extra $1 billion in the state and in consumers' pockets," states the report. California imports 87 percent of its gas, according to Desmond. That puts the state more at the mercy of national prices. However, the report notes that this summer, before Hurricane Katrina hit, gas storage was at historically high levels and that, "as a result, natural gas prices at the California border have not risen as much as elsewhere." Natural gas demand in the state is expected to grow at 0.7 percent a year - - less than for the nation as a whole - - says the report. The soaring price of gas from the pipeline leads the commission to forecast that liquefied natural gas is "economically more attractive," Desmond said. The gas report is in support of the Energy Commission?s 2005 Integrated Energy Policy Report. It notes that the state's overall policy is "to ensure a reliable supply of natural gas, sufficient to meet California's demand, at reasonable and stable prices and with acceptable environmental impacts and market risk."