By Michael Roknick
Herald Business Editor
NORTHWESTERN PENNSYLVANIA —
National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. said it is raising its rates 4.2 percent, effective today.
The rate hike means the monthly bill of a typical residential customer in northwestern Pennsylvania will rise to $80.04 from $76.81, up $3.23.
Wednesday’s announcement is part of a quarterly adjustment utilities can make to reflect the cost of natural gas. By law, a utility isn’t allowed to profit on the price it charges for natural gas.
“The gas-supply charge change is the direct result of a rise in the price of natural gas the company must purchase for its customers,’’ said Sandra James, NFG’s director of corporate communications. “However, even with this increase, overall rates will be 5.8 percent lower than the rates customers were paying at this time last year.’’
Gas supply charges also reflect a utility’s cost in transporting and storing natural gas. As a result, a gas supply charge on a customer’s bill will never exactly match the spot market price of gas, which reflects only the current daily price of the commodity, James noted.
Residential customers eyeing offers from other suppliers should use 0.62463 cents per hundred cubic feet as the price to make comparisons.
Gas supply charges differ from delivery service charges for transporting gas to customers, meter reading, taxes and other utility expenses.
NFG serves about 214,000 customers in 14 counties in northwestern Pennsylvania including Mercer County.
NFG offers programs to help those who are having trouble paying their bills. Info: 800-365-3234 or www.nationalfuelgas.com