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More natural gas results in lower Mountaineer bills

WHEELING, W.Va. — Even if they have yet to see a benefit of the Marcellus and Utica shale boom, about 221,000 Mountaineer Gas Co. customers should soon get a break on their monthly natural gas bills because of the falling prices associated with greater supply.

According to the Public Service Commission of West Virginia, Mountaineer customers will see the purchased gas portions of their bills fall from $6.29 per 1,000 cubic-foot unit to $4.81 per Mcf, which reflects about a 23.5 percent decrease. This will take effect Nov. 1.

“When the price goes down, it is a pass-through to the consumers,” Mountaineer spokesman Larry Meador recently said.

The price for a 1,000 cubic-foot unit of natural gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange is down by about $1.20 compared to this time last year. As drillers in both Ohio and West Virginia continue pumping natural gas out of the ground, this adds to the supply that is leading the price to fall.

Those in the West Virginia who rely on Hope Gas Co. will see the purchased gas portions of their bills fall from $4.66 per unit to $3.25 per unit, reflecting a drop of 30.2 percent.

The commission ordered natural gas utilities to lower the purchased gas portion of their rates for the upcoming heating season. Though the rates take effect Nov. 1, the final rates will be set early next year.

However, Mountaineer officials are also asking the PSC to allow them to increase an average residential customer’s bill by 17 cents per month. This is part of a planned $75 million infrastructure upgrade plan.

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