PEORIA, Ill., Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Ameren Illinois Utilities (AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO, AmerenIP) natural gas customers will see significantly lower natural gas prices when the 2009-10 heating season begins, as the utilities continue to encourage customers to take the steps that will allow them to spend less by using less energy.
The drop in prices is the result of the global recession and the significant reduction in worldwide demand for energy that has led to an overall reduction in the market prices of both crude oil and natural gas.
"The good news for our customers is that we expect natural gas prices will be well below the prices paid last winter," said Ameren Vice President of Gas Supply and System Control Scott A. Glaeser. "Furthermore, we have the majority our natural gas supplies hedged or 'price protected' for the upcoming winter to insulate our customers from market volatility."
Glaeser also stressed that the Ameren Illinois Utilities (AIU) have secured adequate natural gas supplies to meet customer needs during the upcoming 2009-10 heating season.
Last October, AIU customers paid an average price of $1.32 per therm for natural gas, while the October 2009 price average will be $0.56 or 58 percent lower than a year ago. During the 2008-09 heating season, AIU customers paid an average of $0.84 per therm. AIU is anticipating the 2009-2010 heating season price to average $0.62 cents per therm or 26 percent less than the prior heating season assuming normal winter temperatures.
"While lower natural gas prices are welcomed, we recognize and continue to be concerned about the impact the cost of heating may have on our customers," Glaeser said. "We will continue to help our customers understand this issue and provide the information they need to better manage their energy usage."
The three Ameren Illinois Utilities are energy delivery companies. As such, they must purchase natural gas from producers for delivery to customers. The wholesale price paid to producers is not regulated, but rises and falls based upon market conditions caused by supply and demand. AIU does not profit from the cost of natural gas paid by customers. The price of natural gas fluctuates from one month to the next based on supply and demand.
Customers are encouraged to adopt proven energy conservation practices that will help reduce bills without sacrificing personal comfort. Glaeser said the place to begin is by visiting ActOnEnergy.com to review AIU's energy saving tips.
In addition, AIU customers can learn about important cash incentives. For example, an AIU customer can receive an incentive of up to $200 when installing a high-efficiency natural gas forced air furnace. A rebate of $20 is paid when a customer purchases an ENERGY STAR qualified ceiling fan with lights. Ceiling fans enhance both heating and cooling systems, allowing customers to adjust thermostats to use less energy.
AIU's Act On Energy also offers discounts for a number of home energy performance improvement measures:
In addition, AIU natural gas customers can receive a $25 rebate when they install an energy saving programmable thermostat.
Details about these and other programs are available at ActOnEnergy.com or by calling 1-866-838-6918. (Note: See addendum to this release for conservation tips.)
Customers may enroll in the Budget Billing plan as a way to better manage their energy bills. This plan allows residential customers to pay the same amount each month. By enrolling now, customers can begin leveling out their monthly payments. The plan allows customers to pay an average monthly bill amount based on the last 12 months of usage. The payment level is periodically reviewed and adjusted as necessary. On the 12th month, the account is reviewed to calculate the difference between the amount of energy used during the year and the amount paid under Budget Billing. If the amount paid exceeds the actual cost of providing the energy, the customer receives a credit. If the amount billed is less than the actual cost of providing the energy, the customer is billed for the difference.
Customers may enroll in Budget Billing by visiting Ameren's Web site or by calling their Ameren Illinois Utility company (AmerenCIPS: 1-888-789-2477, AmerenCILCO: 1- 888-672-5252, and AmerenIP: 1-800-755-5000). Customers may enroll in the program or drop out at any time. There is no cost to enroll in Budget Billing.
The Ameren Illinois Utilities (AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO, AmerenIP) have been providing safe, reliable energy delivery service for more than a century. The Ameren Illinois Utilities deliver energy to 1.2 million electric and 840,000 natural gas customers in more than 1,200 communities within a 43,700-square-mile service territory.
Heating Season Tips from the Ameren Illinois Utilities
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SOURCE Ameren Illinois Utilities
SOURCE: Ameren Illinois Utilities
Web site: http://www.ameren.com/