Aug. 1—Starting today, customers of National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. will pay significantly less for natural gas — almost $26 a month less.
For the typical residential customer, the average monthly bill falls from $89.90 to $64.05, a drop of $25.85, or more than 28 percent, for a household using 99,000 cubic feet of natural gas a year.
National Fuel has submitted to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) its annual adjustment to its gas supply charge, what the company pays for natural gas. The decrease is effective today.
Meanwhile, a PUC-approved joint settlement for National Fuel to increase base delivery rates also goes into effect today.
The net effect of both changes is pushing the typical residential customer's bill down, the company said.
The gas supply charge is falling by 58 percent due to lower market prices for natural gas.
The price decline follows last year's volatile commodity market and near record highs, National Fuel said in a statement. It significantly reduces the cost of natural gas supplies that the company buys for customers.
By state law, gas supply costs are passed along to customers on a dollar-for-dollar basis without mark-up or profit.
The PUC allows Pennsylvania utility companies to update gas supply charges on a quarterly basis to reflect changes in the market price of natural gas. The next opportunity to adjust gas supply charges comes Nov. 1.
National Fuel's price-to-compare gas commodity charge for natural gas drops to 30.959 cents per 100 cubic feet. The price-to-compare point is important for customers who shop for an alternate natural gas supplier.
In June, the PUC approved a joint settlement to increase National Fuel's base delivery rates to recover an additional $23 million in annual revenues.
The base rate delivery charge increase covers the costs of operating the company's utility pipeline distribution system. It raises the monthly bill for residential customers using 8,300 cubic feet per month by approximately $6.03.
Additional revenues are needed by National Fuel due to rising operating costs and investments in the system, including increasing pipeline safety and modernization of equipment.
In addition, the joint settlement includes enhancements to National Fuel's customer assistance and universal service programs, including increased annual funding to the Low-Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP) and increased company annual contribution to the Neighbor for Neighbor (NFN) hardship program.
The PUC also has approved the implementation of a five-year pilot Weather Normalization Adjustment (WNA) to stabilize customer bills and protect ratepayers and the company from volatility in weather trends.
The WNA is a billing adjustment to make gas bills more predictable during periods of warmer- or colder-than-normal temperatures. It will only be applied to customer bills issued for the months of October through May during each year of the pilot. Customers will begin to see WNA charges on bills that arrive on or after Oct. 1 of this year.
National Fuel customers who are having trouble paying their bills should call (800) 365-3234 to discuss payment assistance programs.