Business Briefs

Watch your mail – Natural gas bill may be going up again

Posted June 20, 2008 4:28 p.m. EDT
Updated June 21, 2008 12:25 a.m. EDT

— Don’t be shocked if your natural gas bill goes up another 15 percent as of July 1.

PSNC North Carolina filed the rate increase on Wednesday with the North Carolina Utilities Commission. The commission must approve the request, and if it does so the increase would take effect July 1, a PSNC spokesperson told WRAL.com.

The company cited increased costs for natural gas as the reason for the rate increase.

“PSNC Energy has filed a request with the North Carolina Utilities Commission to increase the ‘cost of gas’ component of its rates,” the spokesperson said. “If the company’s request is approved, the current residential rate will go up approximately 15% from $1.50 per therm to $1.72 per therm.

“If approved, the average increase to a customer’s bill will be around $3.64 per month during the summer/non-heating season. (Based on average natural gas consumption of 16 therms/month during summer.)”

So why are natural gases prices soaring? Blame it in part on oil and other energy costs.

“As the costs of oil and coal increase, corporate  users can switch to natural gas,” the spokesperson said. As more users switch to gas, demand increases, and so do prices, she added.

A decision is expected by June 30, and if the commission approves it the new rates would kick in July 1.

The spokesperson noted that the increase didn’t mean more profits for the company.

“PSNC Energy does not earn a profit on the “cost of gas” component of its natural gas rates. Any adjustment to the ‘cost of gas’ component is passed directly to customers in accordance with state regulations,” she said.

PSNC has more than 450,000 customers in North Carolina.