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Rising Natural Gas Costs Will Affect Winter Heating Season Bills in 2021-22

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From Michael T. Baldwin, 10/8/21

National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation (National Fuel or the Utility) is alerting its Western New York customers to anticipate higher bills this winter season as natural gas commodity prices have risen significantly following years of historic lows. Customers may also see an increase in gas usage this winter season as initial weather reports indicate a return-to-normal cold and snowy winter.

Across National Fuel’s Western New York service territory, approximately 90% of residents rely on natural gas to heat their homes and fuel their businesses. The estimated average residential customer’s winter heating bill – November through March – will total $714. This is a 43% increase compared to the last winter heating season bill when the typical customer paid $498 during a winter that was approximately 10% warmer than normal. This expected increase is due to rising natural gas commodity prices and a return to what forecasters believe will be a more normal winter for Western New York, which will result in higher usage for the average customer.

Market prices for natural gas supplies have increased significantly from the historic lows experienced in the winters of 2019-20 and 2020-21. New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) natural gas pricing for deliveries this upcoming winter recently topped $6 per MMBtu, more than doubling last winter when pricing averaged under $3 per MMBtu. This rise – driven by several economic factors, including global demand for domestically produced liquefied natural gas, disruptions in domestic production, and lower-than-average national storage inventory levels – has caused an increase in the cost of natural gas purchased and placed in storage by the Utility to meet customer heating needs for the upcoming winter. As required by state regulations, the Utility is required to purchase sufficient quantities of reliable, least-cost natural gas supplies to meet customers’ demands during a colder-than-normal winter. Natural gas supply costs are passed along to customers dollar-for-dollar with no mark-up or profit to National Fuel.

Despite this cost increase, National Fuel’s customers continue to benefit from their proximity and access to abundant, reliable, and lower-cost natural gas supplies produced in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. Overall, cumulative winter heating costs remain lower than what customers experienced during the winters of 2005 through 200

National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation (National Fuel or the Utility) is alerting its Western New York customers to anticipate higher bills this winter season as natural gas commodity prices have risen significantly following years of historic lows. Customers may also see an increase in gas usage this winter season as initial weather reports indicate a return-to-normal cold and snowy winter.

Across National Fuel’s Western New York service territory, approximately 90% of residents rely on natural gas to heat their homes and fuel their businesses. The estimated average residential customer’s winter heating bill – November through March – will total $714. This is a 43% increase compared to the last winter heating season bill when the typical customer paid $498 during a winter that was approximately 10% warmer than normal. This expected increase is due to rising natural gas commodity prices and a return to what forecasters believe will be a more normal winter for Western New York, which will result in higher usage for the average customer.

Market prices for natural gas supplies have increased significantly from the historic lows experienced in the winters of 2019-20 and 2020-21. New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) natural gas pricing for deliveries this upcoming winter recently topped $6 per MMBtu, more than doubling last winter when pricing averaged under $3 per MMBtu. This rise – driven by several economic factors, including global demand for domestically produced liquefied natural gas, disruptions in domestic production, and lower-than-average national storage inventory levels – has caused an increase in the cost of natural gas purchased and placed in storage by the Utility to meet customer heating needs for the upcoming winter. As required by state regulations, the Utility is required to purchase sufficient quantities of reliable, least-cost natural gas supplies to meet customers’ demands during a colder-than-normal winter. Natural gas supply costs are passed along to customers dollar-for-dollar with no mark-up or profit to National Fuel.

Despite this cost increase, National Fuel’s customers continue to benefit from their proximity and access to abundant, reliable, and lower-cost natural gas supplies produced in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. Overall, cumulative winter heating costs remain lower than what customers experienced during the winters of 2005 through 2009.


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