According to Sandra James, Director of Corporate Communications, "Continued decreases in the market price of natural gas due, in large part, to the increasing Marcellus shale gas production, make this quarterly adjustment possible. This change reflects the cost of gas that has been, and will be, purchased by the company for its customers." Pennsylvania utility companies are permitted to update gas supply charges on a quarterly basis to reflect changes in the market price of natural gas. National Fuel's next opportunity to adjust gas supply charges will be May 1, 2013. Gas supply charges are passed along to customers dollar for dollar, with no mark-up or profit to National Fuel.
In a state-required annual filing, National Fuel forecasted a 9.2 percent increase for gas supply charges to be effective August 1, 2013, through July 31, 2014. That forecast was based on information developed in December 2012. Market prices have recently declined below those included in the December forecast. Final rates developed in the annual filing will be determined in accordance with market conditions.
Customers who are having trouble paying their bills are encouraged to call National Fuel at 1-800-365-3234 to find out about payment programs and available services. Additionally, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is currently accepting applications for help with this year's heating bills.