updated 3/28/2011 8:16:12 AM ET 2011-03-28T12:16:12

STAMFORD, Conn., March 25, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The earthquake in Japan may drive up utility prices in the United States, warns the CEO of MXenergy, one of the nation's largest independent electricity suppliers.

"As the world's second largest economy, Japan will need to import more liquefied natural gas or LNG to make up for the lost power from the damaged reactors at Fukushima," said Jeffrey Mayer, President and CEO of MXenergy.

"Japan is already one of the largest importers of LNG," said Mayer. "The crisis is putting more demand pressure on natural gas supplies, raising prices around the world."

In the United States, wholesale natural gas prices have risen 15% in two weeks and prices for gas next winter have gone up even more.

According to Mayer's analysis, a 15% increase in natural gas prices can result in at least a 10% increase in electricity prices.

"Almost all of the new power plants built in this country over the past 20 years use natural gas as fuel. The rise is natural gas prices therefore will translate into higher electricity prices," said Mayer.

The 9.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Japan on March 11. The earthquake and resulting tsunami has devastated Japan, displacing more than 500,000 citizens. The damage to Japan's nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi complex has caused many across the world to call for a re-evaluation of the safety of nuclear power.

About MXenergy

MXenergy is one of the fastest growing retail natural gas and electricity suppliers in North America, serving approximately 500,000 customers in 41 utility territories in the United States and Canada. For over 11 years, the company has provided millions of customers with a choice in how they purchase energy to run their homes and businesses. Founded in 1999 to provide natural gas and electricity to consumers in deregulated energy markets, MXenergy  helps residential customers and small business owners control their energy bills by providing both fixed and variable rate plans MXenergy  is committed to best practices in environmental conservation, supporting local communities through various outreach programs and is a member of the Chicago Climate Exchange. For more information about MXenergy please visit www.mxenergy.com.

CONTACT: Marjorie Kass (203) 356-1318 ext. 7801
         Managing Director
         Laurel O'Connor (209) 782-7212
         NorthStar Media Management LLC

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