Piedmont Natural Gas seeks rate cut

Posted December 15, 2008 11:16 a.m. EST

— Piedmont Natural Gas Co. (NYSE: PNY) asked state regulators Monday to reduce its customer billing rates for customers in North and South Carolina.

Piedmont wants to lower the wholesale cost of gas benchmark contained within the customer billing rates in each state and follow recent declines in the wholesale cost of natural gas. If approved, the reductions cut residential rates by about 7 percent in North Carolina and between 7 and 8 percent in South Carolina.

The benchmark reflects the wholesale cost of natural gas supplies purchased by the company and can fluctuate up or down. The wholesale cost of gas represents the single largest portion of a residential or commercial customer's monthly natural gas bill, typically making up between 65 percent and 70 percent of the total.