Gas prices won’t help customers save cash

The price of natural gas has dropped, but residential customers of Peoples Natural Gas will pay more beginning today.

The cost recovery rate, which makes up about 50 percent of a customer’s bill, has dropped from $5.61 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) to $5.53 per mcf, said Joe Gregorini, Peoples vice president of rates and regulatory affairs.

Based on that figure, the average residential customer, who uses 90,000 cubic feet a year and 7.5 mcf per month, would see his bill drop from $80.87 to $80.46 per month.

“We are seeing gas prices are fairly stable despite a very cold January through March, the supply situation has kept the price fairly constant with no drastic change for customers,” Gregorini said.

However, a rate payer refund credit, set up three years ago following the sale of the company to PNG Companies LLC, a subsidiary of SteelRiver Infrastructure Fund North America LP, has expired, resulting in an increase in the average bill from $80.87 to $83.28.

“We were required to set this up three years ago, and it has ended,” Gregorini said.

Meanwhile, the American Gas Association said supplies are abundant.

“The United States has an abundance of natural gas including vast discoveries from the nearby Marcellus Shale, and this has led to an era of relatively stable prices. Natural gas utilities are taking advantage of this time by passing savings on to their customers and investing in upgrading and modernizing their pipeline networks,” association spokesman Jake Rubin said.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.