Monday, October 17, 2011

Winter bills will be smaller, gas company says

Residential customers are likely to see smaller heating bills this winter, Charlotte-based Piedmont Natural Gas says.

Winter bills could fall up to 10 percent, compared to last year, in Piedmont's territory in the Carolinas and Tennessee. Piedmont serves about 1 million customers.

ypical residential customers are expected to pay about $4 to $10 less a month than they did last winter, reflecting falling wholesale gas prices. Since 2008, Piedmont's billing rates have dropped 20 percent to 30 percent, shaving $100 to $200 off a winter's worth of bills.

Piedmont's Share the Warmth program, which rounds up monthly bills to the nearest dollar, helps low-income residents in its territory.

Wholesale prices are dropping as U.S. shale-gas production, and supply estimates, go up. The gas is extracted through a technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that blasts underground shale formations with high-pressure water and chemicals.

Fracking makes it possible to drill into gas deposits that were too expensive to tap before. It's also excited worries that the chemicals may contaminate groundwater, and that the process uses too much water.

The technique is illegal in North Carolina, which is believed to hold large deposits of shale gas southwest of Raleigh, but the N.C Department of Environment and Natural Resources is beginning a study of the issue.


Anonymous said...

I'm all for lower bills. It would also be nice if they got rid of the monthly $10.00 "service charge".

Anonymous said...

I wonder who allowed that $10 charge.

PMNG makes billions a year doing this.

Anonymous said...

...and if they told you wolverines made good house pets, you'd believe that too?