PA Utility Announces Second NatGas Rate Cut This Year

On March 1, a little over two months ago, UGI Penn Natural Gas, a utility which serves approximately 158,000 customers in 13 counties in northeastern and central Pennsylvania, announced it was immediately reducing natural gas rates for its customers by 4.5 percent (see this MDN story). UGI announced yesterday it would file its annual rate on June 1 and it will request yet another 4.5 percent rate reduction on its annual rate which would take effect December 1. That’s a total of 9 percent in one year—thanks to the abundance of PA’s Marcellus Shale gas.

UGI Penn Natural Gas said Thursday the average residential heating customer’s bill will drop by 4.5 percent on Dec. 1 pending approval by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission of the utility’s purchased gas cost rate or what it pays for the natural gas.

UGI Penn Natural Gas and other utilities do not mark up the price they pay for the fuel and pass along the purchased cost to their customers.

The cost has been trending lower in part due to natural gas production from the Marcellus Shale, said Vicki O. Ebner, senior vice president, customer and government relations with the utility. Monthly bills for UGI Penn Natural Gas customers are 40 percent lower than four years ago.

According to the utility, the bill for a typical residential retail heating customer using approximately 89 hundred cubic feet of natural gas a month will decrease to $90.25 from $94.50.

Likewise, commercial and industrial retail customers will pay less.(1)

Sister company UGI Gas Utilities, with customers in Berks County, PA, will see a rate reduction of an additional 4.3 percent:

UGI Gas Utilities on Thursday asked the state Public Utility Commission to drop the rate it charges its residential customers by 4.3 percent effective Dec. 1.

If the request is approved, the average monthly bill for most Berks County natural gas customers will drop from $89.60 to $86.58.

UGI most recently decreased rates by 4.3 percent on March 1 and by 13.5 percent on Dec. 1. UGI Penn Natural Gas most recently decreased rates by 4.5 percent on March 1 and by 9 percent on Dec. 1.(2)

(1) Wilkes-Barre (PA) The Times Leader (May 18, 2012) – UGI users’ gas bills to drop 4.5%

(2) Reading (PA) Eagle Press (May 18, 2012) – UGI wants to lower rates by 4.3%