Marcellus shale supply helps lower costs of natural gas in Western Pennsylvania
Western Pennsylvanians will pay as much as 7 percent less for natural gas this spring than they did a year ago, with robust supply from the Marcellus shale helping to restrain prices, gas utilities reported on Monday.
“Despite the very cold winter, natural gas prices have remained at historically low levels. It's a good result for our customers,” said Joe Gregorini, vice president of rates and regulatory affairs at Peoples Natural Gas Co.
Peoples and other gas companies this week filed gas cost rates for the April-through-June quarter with the state Public Utilities Commission. The cost of gas usually amounts to about half of a customer's residential heating bill. Taxes and fees represent the rest.
Peoples filed to decrease its rate to $5.53 per thousand cubic feet of gas, down from $5.96 in spring 2013 and $5.61 in the first quarter of 2014. The change should bring the average residential bill to $80.46 a month, according to the company, which serves about 360,000 customers in 16 Western Pennsylvania counties.
The 260,000 customers of Equitable Gas Co. also will experience a slight decline. Equitable dropped to $6.29 its price per thousand cubic feet, down from $6.58 a year earlier. That will put the average monthly bill at roughly $88. Equitable customers paid $6.51 per thousand cubic feet in the first quarter of 2014.
Peoples is merging its business with Equitable, which Peoples acquired late last year for $720 million.
Meanwhile, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania will keep its price level at 55 cents per therm, or about $5.50 per thousand cubic feet of gas. The average residential monthly bill will hover at $86.76, according to the company.
Its gas rate is on par with the first quarter of 2014 and one cent per therm higher than the rate a year ago.
Columbia spokesman Russell Bedell said he could not cite a specific reason for the uptick, indicating factors could range from the weather to the company's supply. Columbia serves 417,000 customers in 26 Western Pennsylvania counties.
The PUC expects natural gas prices might creep up slightly later this year, said spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher. She declined to cite specific numbers, but said sharp demand for electricity in the warm summer months could squeeze gas distribution systems.
“That's just sheer demand” as more power plants rely on natural gas instead of coal to make electricity, Kocher said.
Adam Smeltz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Impact fees garner support from state community leaders
- Concurrent Technologies focuses on developing batteries for renewable energy, electric cars
- Oil glut forces producers to seek out more storage tanks
- Foreign central banks buck Fed, cut interest rates
- Trade deals good way to add jobs, CEOs say
- Markets ‘flutter’ day after records
- Auto industry slows for bad weather, but stays on course
- Company proposes building 2 gas-fired power plants in West Virginia
- Profit increases 12% at Dick’s Sporting Goods
- Nissan’s sport coupe a performance steal
- Mud serves as multipurpose tool in $100B shale industry