Reading, PA (February 3, 2006) – Today, UGI Utilities filed a request with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to decrease its purchased gas cost rates, effective February 10, 2006. If the Company’s request is approved, the bill for a typical residential heating customer will decrease approximately 3%, from $151.41 to $146.98 per month.
By law, UGI purchases natural gas for its retail customers and recovers the Company’s actual costs through purchased gas cost rates, which do not include any mark up or profit. These rates may be adjusted quarterly to reflect changes in actual and projected purchased gas costs. UGI may also petition the PUC to request changes in its purchased gas cost rates between quarterly adjustments.
UGI’s next opportunity to make a quarterly adjustment would be March 1. However, because of a recent decline in the projected cost of natural gas, UGI is requesting approval from the PUC to implement an interim rate decrease, effective February 10, 2006. The PUC’s next scheduled public meeting will be held on February 9 and UGI’s petition to lower gas rates could be approved at that time.
Wholesale natural gas prices have declined in recent weeks primarily due to unseasonably warm weather that reduced demand for heating fuels. According to Vicki O. Ebner, UGI’s vice president of marketing & gas supply, “In January, above-average temperatures across most of the United States caused projected natural gas prices to fall below the projections UGI used when setting the December rates.” Ebner stated that UGI’s proposal to lower gas rates in February versus waiting until March is voluntary and is consistent with the objectives of Governor Rendell’s StayWarm PA initiative and the PUC’s Prepare Now campaign, which encourage energy providers, regulators and elected officials to proactively work together to assist consumers with their winter heating bills.
UGI customers who experience bill payment problems are encouraged to contact UGI at 1-800-276-2722 as soon as possible to discuss their payment options. UGI representatives will work closely with customers who are making a sincere effort to pay their bills. UGI’s Customer Information Center has extended its hours of operation and is currently available to take billingrelated calls Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm. Additional steps that customers can take to manage their energy bills include:
• Enrolling in Budget Billing to spread utility bills over 12-months.
• Conserving Energy by lowering thermostats and limiting hot water usage.
• Winterizing Homes with added insulation and caulking to reduce heat loss.
• Tuning-up Furnaces for improved efficiency.
• Applying for Energy Assistance if on a limited income.
Programs offering energy assistance to low-income customers have been expanded this winter. UGI customers can call 1-800-UGI-WARM (844-9276) to learn more about cash grants and special programs that offer discounted rates and free home efficiency improvements to qualified low-income customers. Participation in UGI’s Customer Assistance Program, the Low Income Self Help Program (LISHP) has increased 30% over last year and is continuing to grow. In addition, a first-ever Pennsylvania contribution of state funds to the federal LIHEAP program has enabled the PA Department of Welfare to recently raise the income eligibility threshold for these heating grants.
UGI Utilities’ headquarters is located in Reading, Pennsylvania. The utility serves 307,000 customers in 14 southeastern Pennsylvania counties. Additional information about UGI
is available at www.ugi.com.