National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation (National Fuel) has submitted to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission its annual adjustment to gas supply charges to become effective Aug. 1, 2022. This adjustment increases the monthly bill of a typical residential customer with annual usage of 102,800 cubic feet of gas by $22.98, from $87.13 to $110.11.
The rate adjustment is primarily due to higher market prices for natural gas, which have increased the cost of natural gas supplies that National Fuel purchases for customers. Gas supply costs are passed along to customers without mark-up or profit to National Fuel. Pennsylvania utility companies are permitted 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 will be Nov. 1, 2022.
Market prices for natural gas have increased significantly due to several domestic and global factors that have impacted both the supply and demand of the commodity. While gas prices are trending higher compared to recent years, National Fuel’s purchasing strategy and use of storage gas helps to limit volatility or price spikes and ensures availability of supplies for the coming winter heating season.
National Fuel’s price-to-compare gas commodity charge also will increase to $0.90380 per 100 cubic feet (ccf). This reference point, detailed on the National Fuel bill under Gas Supply Charges, is important for customers who are shopping for an alternate gas supplier.
National Fuel customers who are having trouble paying their bills are encouraged to call 1-800-365-3234 to discuss payment assistance programs, including:
- Budget Plan, which allows predictable monthly gas bills and stabilized heating payments for the year.
- LIRA (Low-Income Residential Assistance Program), which offers reduced-rate monthly bills and debt forgiveness.
- Deferred Payment Agreement in which customers can negotiate a payment plan in the event of a problem or special circumstance.
- LIURP (Low Income Usage Reduction Program), which offers weatherization assistance for customers who meet income and consumption requirements.
- CARES (Customer Assistance Referral Evaluation Services), which offers payment arrangements and assistance referrals for customers facing hardships.
- Neighbor For Neighbor Heat Fund, which helps customers who are having difficulty paying bills and who meet one of the following criteria: at least 55 years old, a veteran, disabled, have a certified medical condition, or are receiving unemployment benefits.
The Pennsylvania Homeowner Assistance Fund (PAHAF) is open. PAHAF supports Pennsylvania homeowners experiencing financial hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and whose household income is at or below 150% of the area median income. PAHAF funds help to prevent mortgage-related issues and utility disconnections. Homeowners should visit www.pahaf.org to learn more.
As customers prepare for this winter heating season, National Fuel recommends the following energy efficiency and savings tips:
- Use caulk or weather-stripping to reduce air leaks and cut as much as 10% from your monthly energy bill. Seal leaks around floors, walls, ceilings, ducts, fireplace, plumbing, doors, windows, fans, vents and electric outlets.
- Set thermostats between 65° and 70° during the winter, and at 58° when away from the house for more than a few hours. Setting thermostats back 10°-15° for eight straight hours, you can save about 5%-15% a year on your heating bill — a savings of as much as 1% for each degree. Or install a programmable thermostat.
- Change or clean furnace air filters once a month during the heating season. Furnaces consume less energy if they “breathe” more easily.
- Warm air rises, so use registers to direct warm airflow across the floor.
- Close vents and doors in unused rooms. Close dampers on unused fireplaces.
- Set your water heater to 120° or the medium temperature setting. Drain a quart of water from the bottom of your water heating tank every three months to remove sediment that can hamper the efficiency of your unit.