National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation (National Fuel) has submitted to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) its quarterly adjustment to gas supply charges. This adjustment increases the monthly bill of a typical residential customer with annual usage of 100,300 cubic feet of gas by $2.36, from $67.99 to $70.35. This 3.47 percent increase is to become effective Nov. 1, 2020.
Resulting from the abundant supply of Marcellus and Utica shale gas produced in the northeast and benefitting northwestern Pennsylvania homes and businesses, market prices for natural gas remain at 12-year lows. Nearly all of the gas consumed by National Fuel utility customers comes from northeast-produced shale gas, including gas produced in Pennsylvania.
National Fuel’s price-to-compare gas commodity charge also will increase to $0.38894 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.
Gas supply charges are passed along to customers dollar for dollar, with no 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 Feb. 1, 2021.
National Fuel hasn’t sought to increase delivery service charges, which reflect the company’s costs of doing business (including costs associated with installing and maintaining the local pipeline delivery system) and are determined by the PUC, in more than 12 years, even while consistent investments in pipeline safety and system modernization have continued.
Effective Nov. 9, the Pennsylvania PUC will lift its current utility service termination moratorium. Customers having difficulty paying their bills are strongly advised to promptly contact National Fuel Customer Service, 1-800-365-3234, to discuss payment arrangements and available payment assistance programs.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, LIHEAP, opens Monday, Nov. 2. Eligibility for this federally funded program is based on income guidelines and household size. For example, a family of four with a gross monthly income of $3,275 may qualify for a grant. Monies are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. For additional information, visit www.LIHEAPhelps.com or contact 1-877-443-2743. Please see the included flier for more information.
Again, National Fuel Customers who are having trouble paying their bills are encouraged to call 1-800-365-3234. Payment assistance programs and services include:
- Budget Plan- predictable monthly gas bills and stabilized heating payments for the year.
- Deferred Payment Agreement- customers can negotiate a payment plan in the event of a problem or special circumstance.
- LIRA (Low-Income Residential Assistance Program)- reduced-rate monthly bills and debt forgiveness.
- LIURP (Low Income Usage Reduction Program)- weatherization assistance for customers who meet income and consumption requirements.
- CARES (Customer Assistance Referral Evaluation Services)- payment arrangements and assistance referrals for customers facing hardships.
- Neighbor For Neighbor Heat Fund- 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 receiving unemployment benefits, meet basic energy needs.
As always, if you smell gas, leave fast! If a rotten-egg natural gas odor is present, leave the premises immediately and call National Fuel’s emergency line, 1-800-444-3130, from a different location. If you smell gas outdoors, leave the area and call National Fuel’s emergency number and provide the address nearest to the site of the odor. To learn more about natural gas safety, visit https://www.nationalfuel.com/utility/gas-safety/.