AmerenUE has filed a request with the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) for a decrease in the Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA) on customers’ natural gas bills to reflect lower wholesale costs from the company’s suppliers. However, UE officials caution that in spite of this reduction, the price of natural gas will still be higher than it was last winter for most customers.
Subject to PSC review and approval, the new adjustment would take effect Nov. 1 for the company’s 127,000 natural gas customers. Electric rates would not be affected. UE’s current PGA has been in effect since June 1.
For most UE residential natural gas customers, the new adjustment would mean an average decrease of about $6 per month compared to current prices, but for the upcoming winter customers would still pay about $10 per month more than last winter.
For customers in Rolla, Salem and Owensville, the average decrease would be about $3.80 per month compared to current prices. For the upcoming winter heating season these customers would pay about $11 per month less than last winter. A lower transportation surcharge due to reduced costs from the pipeline that delivers gas to this area accounts for the difference in the impact on those communities.
These estimates are based on normal average usage, and would vary depending on how usage is affected by colder- or warmer-than-normal weather.
The PGA reflects the wholesale cost of natural gas from the company’s suppliers, plus the cost of transporting that gas to the UE system. Since the wholesale costs change daily—while the PGA does not—the PGA also includes an adjustment to compensate for any under- or over-collection of actual costs in previous periods. UE passes these supplier costs on to customers, dollar for dollar, through the PGA without any “markup” in price.
For residential customers, the PGA accounts for about two-thirds of an average gas bill, excluding taxes, so any change in the PGA can have a significant impact on the total price customers pay.
Since the highest natural gas usage occurs during the winter, UE urges customers to take steps now to prepare. One way to minimize the impact is to sign up for Budget Billing, which spreads payments out throughout the year.
For customers who want to install more efficient natural gas equipment, UE’s Missouri Energy Efficient Natural Gas Equipment Rebate Program offers residential customers rebates for a portion of the cost of new ENERGY STAR® qualified gas furnaces and thermostats. For commercial customers, the program offers rebates for a portion of the cost of an ENERGY STAR listed commercial gas utilization product—such as a furnace, dryer, fryer, steam cooker, or other kitchen appliance. The rebates are available through Dec. 31, 2008, subject to remaining funding for the program.
For information about Budget Billing, the Missouri Energy Efficient Natural Gas Equipment Rebate Program, weatherization and other energy-saving tips, visit “Natural Gas Center” on the Ameren Web site: www.ameren.com. A wide range of energy efficiency tips is also available on the new State of Missouri “Be Energy Efficient” site: www.beenergyefficient.org.
AmerenUE, a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation, serves 1.2 million electric and 127,000 natural gas customers over a 24,000-square-mile area covering north, central and eastern Missouri.
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CONTACT: Mike Cleary, 573.681.7137, of AmerenUE