Supply charges will decrease 58% due to lower prices for natural gas
National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation (National Fuel) has submitted to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) its annual adjustment to gas supply charges that go into effect Aug. 1, 2023. The PUC-approved joint settlement for National Fuel to increase base delivery rates also goes into effect tomorrow. These combined rate adjustments will not negatively impact National Fuel customers as the monthly bill for a typical residential customer with an annual usage of 99,000 cubic feet of gas will decrease by $25.85, from $89.90 to $64.05.
Supply charges will decrease 58% due to lower market prices for natural gas. This decline in prices follows last year’s volatile commodity market and near record highs and significantly reduces 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, 2023.
National Fuel’s price-to-compare gas commodity charge also will decrease to $0.30959 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.
In June, the PUC approved a joint settlement to increase National Fuel’s base delivery rates to recover an additional $23 million in annual revenues. The base rate delivery charge increase, the costs of operating National Fuel’s utility pipeline distribution system, raises the monthly bill for residential customers using 83 ccf per month by approximately $6.03. Additional revenues are needed by National Fuel due to rising operating costs and investments in the system, including the acceleration of pipeline safety and modernization.
In addition, the joint settlement includes enhancements to National Fuel’s customer assistance and universal service programs, including:
- Increased annual funding to the Low-Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP).
- Increased Company annual contribution to the Neighbor for Neighbor (NFN) hardship program.
The PUC also has approved the implementation of a 5-year pilot Weather Normalization Adjustment (WNA) to stabilize customer bills and protect ratepayers and the Company from volatility in weather trends. The WNA is a billing adjustment to make gas bills more predictable during periods of warmer or colder than normal temperatures. The WNA will only be applied to customer bills issued for the months of October through May during each year of the pilot. Customers will begin to see WNA charges on bills that arrive on or after Oct. 1, 2023.
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- allows predictable monthly gas bills and stabilized heating payments for the year.
- Deferred Payment Arrangement- customers can negotiate a payment plan in the event of a problem or special circumstance.
- LIRA (Low-Income Residential Assistance Program)- offers reduced-rate monthly bills and debt forgiveness.
- LIURP (Low Income Usage Reduction Program)- offers weatherization assistance for customers who meet income and consumption requirements.
- CARES (Customer Assistance Referral Evaluation Services)- offers 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, receiving unemployment benefits or whose household income falls below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.