Aquila sale shouldn't affect already lowering gas bills

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Aquila announced a reduction in the purchased gas adjustment (PGA on gas bills) charge by 21 percent. The adjustment is used to reconcile the amount Aquila pays for natural gas and the price it charges customers.

"We are very pleased our customers will see some benefit from these lower gas costs," Tracy Peterson, operating vice president for the company's natural gas network in Missouri. "A milder winter led to lower usage and increased storage, which caused a drop in the commodity price."

The basic charges for delivering natural gas to customers remain the same.

According to Debbie Leonard the proposed sale of Aquila's gas system to Empire District Electric Company won't affect the reduction.

"It's my understanding it will be the same after the sale," Leonard said. "Empire would have to go to the Public Service Commission to request a change."

Aquila serves approximately 46,000 natural gas customers in Missouri. About 3,400 customers in the Nevada area will be affected by the reduction according to Brian Bell, area supervisor.

"At the last count we had around 3,400 customers in the Nevada-Deerfield area," Bell said.

A press release from Aquila said the reduction would take the PGA portion of the bill from approximately one dollar per 100 cubic feet of gas (CCF) to approximately 79 cents per CCF. An average customer would see about $5.26 less per month on their gas bill.

The release says Aquila supplies gas to its customers without a price mark-up. Aquila purchases up to 80 percent of its gas supplies in fixed-price contracts; gas placed in storage, and options contracts. Remaining supplies are purchased at market prices and as a result the PGA may increase or decrease depending on gas supply costs.

To help customers effectively budget for energy costs Aquila offers a StreamLINE billing option. StreamLINE is a level-payment plan that allows customers to pay the same amount for energy each month based on the average usage during the previous 12 months. There is an annual adjustment where differences in actual energy usage and the amounts paid by the customer are balanced.

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