National Fuel also plans to lower gas supply rates for the upcoming winter
Today, National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation (National Fuel or the Company) announced a pair of utility rate actions that will impact separate portions of Pennsylvania customer bills.
- For the first time in more than 15 years, National Fuel filed a request with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to increase base delivery rates for all Pennsylvania customers, raising the bill of an average residential customer using 84 hundred cubic feet (ccf) of gas by $9.74 per month. If approved, the proposed base rate increase is expected to take effect on Aug. 1, 2023.
- As it is permitted to every three months, National Fuel will submit to the PUC an adjustment to gas supply charges. This quarterly adjustment will decrease the monthly bill of an average residential customer using 84 ccf of gas by $2.29 per month and will take effect on Nov. 1, 2022.
Base Delivery Rate Increase
National Fuel is seeking an increase in its annual base rate delivery revenues of $28.1 million, or 9.2% on a total revenue basis. An increase in delivery rates, which recover the costs of operating National Fuel’s pipeline distribution system, requires PUC authorization after a formal regulatory process. National Fuel maintains 4,850 miles of pipelines and related facilities across northwest Pennsylvania, a system designed to safely and reliably deliver natural gas to approximately 214,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers.
If approved by the PUC, this would be National Fuel’s first base delivery rate increase in Pennsylvania since 2007. Rising costs coupled with the need to continue investing in the modernization and safety of National Fuel’s distribution system have reached a level where an increase in base delivery rates is now necessary. The Company’s rate proposal will support its ability to:
- Accelerate pipeline replacement and modernization activities to enhance system safety and reliability, decrease emissions and align with most Pennsylvania utilities infrastructure improvement programs.
- Address inflationary pressures on increasing operating costs for labor and benefits, material and service purchases and technology and cyber security upgrades.
- Implement a weather normalization adjustment mechanism that will stabilize customer bills and protect ratepayers and the Company from volatility in weather trends.
- Adopt a new energy efficiency pilot program for residential customers that will provide rebates to customers who install high efficiency natural gas appliances for space and water heating, promoting customers to save on their energy usage and reduce their environmental footprint.
According to the Company’s President Donna DeCarolis, National Fuel has not increased delivery service charges in Pennsylvania since 2007 as a result of diligent cost-containment efforts and efficient management of its utility system.
“We are proud of our long-standing record as a low-cost service provider, delivering safe, reliable and critical energy to more than 214,000 Pennsylvania customers,” DeCarolis said. “While additional investments are required to enhance our system and service, National Fuel customers will continue to benefit from having the lowest delivery rates and access to highly affordable natural gas supplies being produced across the Commonwealth.”
The Pennsylvania PUC 2022 Rate Comparison Report issued in April 2022 illustrates that National Fuel has the lowest total monthly bills and the lowest customer and distribution charges in Pennsylvania among large gas utilities. Additionally, a review of 2020 residential natural gas sales price data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration found that National Fuel has the lowest rates in Pennsylvania. National Fuel’s residential heating customers will continue to have the lowest average total bill and lowest average delivery charges in Pennsylvania even with this proposed rate increase.
National Fuel’s proposal will undergo a thorough review process by the PUC that typically lasts up to nine months. As part of the review process, the PUC can accept, reject or modify the Company’s proposal. If approved, new delivery rates likely would take effect Aug. 1, 2023.
Gas Supply Charge Adjustment
National Fuel also submitted to the PUC a quarterly adjustment to decrease its gas supply charges to become effective Nov. 1, 2022. The 2.8% decrease from the rates implemented on Aug. 1, 2022, is due primarily to lower market prices for natural gas. 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 Feb. 1, 2023. National Fuel’s gas supply rates are subject to an annual review from the PUC.
National Fuel’s price-to-compare gas commodity charge also will decrease to $0.87775 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.
LIHEAP Opens November 1
LIHEAP, the federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, opens Nov. 1 for eligible customers. Grant amounts vary from $300 to $1,000 and are provided on a first-come, first-served basis. A family of four with an annual income of $41,625 or less may qualify for a grant. Eligibility is based on income guidelines and household size. Crisis grants also are available for customers with an overdue balance or who do not currently have gas service. For more information, visit www.LIHEAPhelps.com or contact 1-877-443-2743.
National Fuel customers who are having trouble paying their bills are strongly encouraged to call 1-800-365-3234 to discuss available payment assistance programs.