Customers will continue to have among the lowest average delivery charges in the state
Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved a joint settlement for National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation (National Fuel) that increases annual base rate delivery revenues, the costs of operating National Fuel’s utility pipeline distribution system, by $23 million. The base rate increase will take effect Aug. 1, 2023, and will increase the monthly bill for residential customers using 84 ccf per month by approximately $7, from $99.93 to $106.77, about 6.8% (based upon gas cost rates at the time of filing).
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). LIURP offers weatherization assistance for customers who meet income and consumption requirements.
- Increased Company annual contribution to the Neighbor for Neighbor (NFN) hardship program. NFN 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.
National Fuel has not increased delivery rates since 2007. Additional revenues are now needed due to rising operating costs and investments in the system, including the acceleration of its pipeline safety and modernization program. Across northwest Pennsylvania, National Fuel maintains 4,850 miles of utility pipelines and facilities and provides gas service to approximately 214,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers.
Delivery rates should not be confused with gas supply charges that reflect the purchase of natural gas supplies for customers and are passed along 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.
Weather Normalization Adjustment
The PUC also 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 period of October through May during each year of the pilot.
How it works:
- If the weather is more than 3% colder than normal, customers will see a WNA credit on their bill.
- If the weather is more than 3% warmer than normal, customers will see a WNA charge on their bill.
- In months where weather is within 3% of normal, bills will not have a WNA adjustment.
Customers will begin to see WNA charges on bills that arrive on or after Oct. 1, 2023.
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 2023 Rate Comparison Report issued in April 2023 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 2021 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 among the lowest average total bill and lowest average delivery charges in Pennsylvania even with this base rate increase.