National Fuel projects next winter’s purchased gas cost for customers

From staff report

National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. has submitted to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission its required annual purchased gas cost projection for purchases to be made from Aug. 1, 2019, through July 31, 2020.

The company is projecting a decrease in overall gas supply charges totaling about $14.41 per year for a typical residential customer in this filing.

If approved as filed, the monthly bill for a typical residential customer starting in August 2019 would decrease $1.20 from $73.13 to $71.93 per month, or by 1.64 percent.

The primary reason for this forecasted decrease is that costs associated with the purchase and transmission of natural gas are projected to be slightly lower than those reflected in current rates, according to a press release from National Fuel.

Customers are advised that this forecast is for prices to be experienced next winter (2019-20) and must be thoroughly reviewed and approved by the PUC before becoming effective, the press release said.

Additionally, upon approval, pricing will be adjusted quarterly to reflect actual and more current market prices.

National Fuel is required by law to shop for the most reasonably priced gas while still maintaining an adequate supply for more than 200,000 Pennsylvania customers.

As market prices fluctuate, National Fuel is required to pass those changes to customers, without any mark-up or discount, the press release said.

This differs from 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.

National Fuel hasn’t sought to increase delivery service charges in more than 10 years, even while consistent investments in pipeline safety and system modernization have continued, the press release said.