Reading, PA – UGI Central Penn Gas (UGI CPG) today filed a request with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to increase its base rates for natural gas delivery service. The increased rates would fund system improvements and operations necessary to maintain safe and reliable natural gas service. The increase would also fund additional energy assistance for low income customers as well as conservation programs for all customers.
According to Peter G. Terranova, UGI vice president of marketing, rates and supply, “We are working hard to manage costs while continuing UGI CPG’s strong legacy of safe and reliable natural gas delivery service. By the time these new base rates are effective, it will have been nearly two and a half years since UGI CPG last raised base rates. We recognize that a rate increase is never popular and we are very sensitive to the difficult economic times faced by households and businesses. For these reasons we are committed to providing and expanding programs and services that will help our customers better manage and afford their energy services.”
As part of the filing, UGI CPG will increase enrollment and improve its customer assistance program to allow low income customers to pay a manageable percentage of income for their gas service. In addition to its current weatherization program, UGI CPG will offer free energy audits to income qualified customers. Finally, UGI CPG will also implement a number of rebate programs, which will help all residential households gain access to high efficiency equipment that could provide lower energy bills and also reduce their carbon footprint.
A customer’s natural gas bill is made up of two parts. The delivery charge, which this proposal would increase, provides a utility with the funds needed to maintain the gas distribution system and provide customer service and emergency response. UGI CPG last increased its delivery rates in February 2007. The gas commodity charge reflects the actual cost the Company pays to buy gas on the wholesale market, with no profit markup. UGI CPG recently lowered its gas commodity charge on December 1, 2008.
If UGI CPG’s request is approved in full, the bill for a typical residential customer who uses about 78.1 dekatherms (781 therms) of gas per year will increase $18.07 or by 15.8% from $114.72 to $132.79 per month. The bill for a typical commercial customer who uses 349.2 dekatherms per year will increase $37.68 or by 8.7% from $432.92 to $470.60 per month. The bill for a typical industrial customer who uses 2,048.3 dekatherms per year will increase $205.98 or by 8.8% from $2,352.82 to $2,558.82 per month. The total rate increase request of $19.6 million annually represents an increase of 12.05% to the Company’s annual revenue.
UGI CPG is requesting that the new gas rates take effect March 29, 2009. However, the PUC typically suspends the effective date for general base rate proceedings to allow for investigation and public hearings. This review process is expected to last approximately nine months, which would delay implementation of the new rates until late October 2009.
Customers may call UGI CPG toll-free at 1-800-652-0550 to receive further information on the proposed rate increase or to find out what actions they make take.
UGI Central Penn Gas, headquartered in Reading, PA, is a wholly owned subsidiary of UGI Utilities, Inc. UGI Central Penn Gas serves approximately 76,000 customers in 35 counties in eastern and central Pennsylvania. For more information, visit www.ugi.com.