By Keith Gushard
More natural gas coming to market means National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. is trimming the natural gas bill of its average residential customer by about $5 a month.
National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. has submitted a 6.7 percent decrease in its gas supply charge to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
The change, which is effective today, lowers the bill of a typical residential customer using 90,000 cubic feet of gas annually by $5.16 a month, from $76.61 to $71.45.
It brings National Fuel’s residential Price to Compare to $.55450 per ccf, which is an important reference point for those customers shopping for an alternate gas supplier.
“Continued decreases in the market price of natural gas due, in large part, to the increasing Marcellus shale gas production, make this quarterly adjustment possible,” said Sandra James, National Fuel spokeswoman. “This change reflects the cost of gas that has been, and will be, purchased by the company for its customers.”
The gas supply charge is the rate National Fuel pays for natural gas from its suppliers.
Under Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission regulations, natural gas utilities can’t make a profit on the cost of gas they buy from suppliers. Those gas costs must be passed on to customers on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
The gas supply charge is adjusted quarterly to account for marketplace changes in the price of natural gas. National Fuel’s next opportunity to adjust gas supply charges will be May 1.
On Jan. 2, in a state-required annual filing, National Fuel had forecasted a 9.2 percent increase for gas supply charges to be effective Aug. 1, 2013, through July 31, 2014.
However, that forecast was based on information developed in December 2012 and market prices recently have declined below what they were in December, James said. The final rates for the annual filing will be determined in accordance with market conditions, James said.
National Fuel serves approximately 209,000 customers in 14 counties in northwestern Pennsylvania, including Crawford County.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.
National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. customers who are having trouble paying their natural gas bills are encouraged to call National Fuel, toll-free, at (800) 365-3234 to find out about payment programs and available services.