Natural Gas Costs Even Lower Than Forecasted for 2011 – 2012 Winter Heating Season

ALBANY, NY  – National Grid’s customers have seen a significant reduction in their total natural gas bills in recent months, a reduction that is even greater than what the energy company predicted last year as the winter heating season was just beginning.

In October, National Grid forecasted that, assuming normal weather conditions, winter heating bills for its natural gas customers would be about eight percent lower than costs in the previous year. Due to natural gas costs being lower than originally forecast and warmer temperatures, heating costs for National Grid customers in upstate New York have been more than 20 percent lower than last winter.

National Grid purchases natural gas in the wholesale markets on behalf of its customers and works diligently to obtain the most favorable prices possible. The cost of those purchases is passed along to customers directly, with no mark up.

The comparison takes into account heating costs from Nov. 1 to March 1 (the period National Grid considers the official heating season) based on both commodity costs and usage.

This forecast assumes that a typical residential customer who used 730 therms during the 2010 – 2011 heating season will use about 654 therms during the 2011 – 2012 heating season. This would results in a savings of about $165.

The cost of natural gas supply is one of two components of a customer’s heating bill. The other is the delivery portion of the bill, which reflects the cost to bring the gas directly to customers, maintain the local gas network and provide emergency response and customer service. National Grid’s delivery price will remain unchanged this winter.

Natural gas remains the best heating source for upstate New York residents because of its convenience, comfort and comparable environmental benefits. Natural gas burns clean and can increase energy efficiency by up to 30 percent compared to other heating sources.

In addition to choosing natural gas as a fuel source, conservation and efficiency can also help customers manage energy bills and reduce their environmental impact. National Grid has a 20-year track record of successful, award-winning efficiency programs in the U.S., many available to upstate New York customers.

Current natural gas efficiency programs include incentives for installation of high-efficiency, space heating and water heating equipment; rebates for Energy Star rated programmable thermostats; and a high-efficiency heating and water heating program for commercial customers.

Detailed information on all of National Grid’s energy efficiency programs and additional efficiency tips can be found at National Grid continues to communicate its energy-efficiency messages to customers through bills, newsletters, customer meetings, media interviews, web site information, news releases, public meetings and mailings.

Customers who have concerns about their ability to pay their bill are urged to call National Grid at 1-800-642-4272 as soon as possible. The sooner a customer calls, the easier it is for the company to assist them.

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