Local News

Natural Gas Prices Could Rise Again For Some Triangle Customers

Posted October 17, 2005

— The cost of natural gas could go up for the third time in three months for hundreds of thousands of customers in the Triangle.

PSNC Energy

filed a request Monday with the North Carolina Utilities Commission to raise residential rates by 11 percent.

Officials said they were not trying to make a profit by raising the cost, but were passing on the cost of doing business.

"It's costing PSNC Energy more than ever before to go and buy natural gas for customers," said company spokeswoman Angie Townsend. "So, we have to pass that cost on through to our customers."

Considered to be more reliable than electric power, natural gas is just as vulnerable to price fluctuations.

"What is important to remember is that weather is often the biggest driver of what happens on a natural gas market, and winter weather is still yet to come," Townsend said.

Because of that, PSNC Energy recommended customers

take measures

that would help conserve energy and money, such as wearing an extra sweatshirt, insulating houses and getting a programmable thermostat.

If approved, the proposed increase, which would go into effect Nov. 1, would increase the average monthly winter gas bill to $174. Last winter, it was $112.

PSNC Energy serves 230,000 customers in the Triangle and 405,000 statewide.

The company's move came just one week after the federal government warned winter heating costs would go up nationwide for natural gas, as well fuel oil and propane.

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