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Peoples gas cost nearly doubles

Average homeowner’s bill will increase about $33 a month

Customers of Peoples Natural Gas will be paying almost double what they paid for gas in the last quarter.

Effective today, the quarterly adjusted cost recovery rate is now $8.29 per thousand cubic feet, up from $4.24 per mcf, an increase of $4.05, meaning the average residential customers bill will increase by about $33 a month, said Barry Kukovich, Peoples spokesman.

This current cost has risen after a decadelong downward trend.

“It’s all based on supply and demand. And right now supply is low and demand is high. There are four major reasons for this and they are occurring simultaneously. It’s an unprecedented situation,” Kukovich said.

* High heat conditions and air conditioning use across the country has increased the demand for natural gas by electrical utilities and their generating stations.

* The United States is exporting natural gas in its liquefied state to Europe, as Europe attempts to wean itself from Russian natural gas and oil due to the war in the Ukraine.

* Following the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy is recovering and has led to higher natural gas consumption in commercial and industrial activity.

* Nations on multiple continents, and notably in Asia, are transitioning from coal-fired electric generating plants to natural gas-fired electric generating plants to improve the environment.

Kukovich said Peoples makes no profit from the gas.

“It’s a dollar for dollar pass-through cost. We are required to purchase this gas from suppliers at the lowest possible cost we can find and pass this cost to our customers. Approximately 17% of our customers are currently on Customer Choice and purchase their gas independently of us,” he said.

Customers having trouble with their bill should contact Peoples Customer Services Department and set up a payment plan.

“They could also switch to a budget payment plan that flattens out the cost over the 12 months of the year. In doing this, they would avoid price spikes during the cold weather months. There are a number of universal service programs for our customers, who are income eligible. Most of them open up for the cold weather months. But our Peoples’ Dollar Energy Fund Hardship Fund is currently open to customers with incomes at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guideline,” Kukovich said.

Peoples serves about 31,200 customers in Blair County.

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