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Yankee Gas Services Company
P.O. Box 270
Hartford, CT 06141-0270
EXPENSIVE HEATING SEASON AHEAD FOR ALL CONSUMERS
Yankee Gas prepares customers; ready to assist those in need
Sandy St. Pierre
BERLIN, Conn., September 29, 2005 (NYSE: NU) -- Hurricane damage to the U.S. energy infrastructure, uncertainty over terrorism threats, the war in Iraq and a projected cold winter have pushed energy prices to new records this year. As the heating season approaches, consumers are now facing the prospect of high heating bills this winter. It is not any single fuel source that will affect consumers more than others – rather, energy prices are high across the board. Yankee Gas Services Company, Connecticut’s largest natural gas distribution company, has begun to prepare customers through an education campaign and is encouraging participation in programs that can help take the sting out of heating bills later this winter.
“We are already seeing a significant increase in enrollment in Yankee’s Budget Payment Program, which helps to level out your monthly bills over a year, based on your usage,” said Christopher L. Beschler, vice president, Operations. “This year, more than ever, programs and services like budget billing, energy conservation and energy assistance will be critical. We know that low income customers are among the most vulnerable, but this year we are concerned about how the high cost energy will affect
of our customers.”
When energy prices are high, more people have a hard time paying their bills and more people need energy assistance. The concern is that there won’t be enough resources to provide the kind of aid that will be needed. According to a new study released last week by the American Gas Association (AGA), there are more households with incomes near the poverty line now than in 1981, when the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) was created. While energy prices have increased dramatically in that time, funding for energy assistance has only increased four percent. Today, LIHEAP is able to serve only 13 percent of the 33 million eligible families. Even when combined with utility energy assistance and efficiency programs, there is still only enough funding to help 1 in 4 families.
Programs, services and outreach
To help customers weather what is expected to be an expensive heating season, Yankee Gas is reaching out to customers to encourage them to take advantage of programs and services that can help increase energy efficiency, level out payments over a year and provide energy assistance. In addition, Yankee will partner with The Connecticut Light & Power Company (CL&P) in October to get together with social service agencies and community action agencies across the state to prepare to meet the needs of hardship and low income customers this winter. More than 2,000 agencies have been invited to attend one of these special forums:
October 11 – Waterbury
October 12 – Rocky Hill
October 19 – Ledyard
October 20 – Norwalk
Other programs available to help customers this winter include:
Budget Payment Program –
This provides customers with a monthly budget, based on annual usage, to spread out costs over time. You must be current on your bill, but this is a great way to end those winter heating bill surprises!
Home Energy Audit –
Conduct a home energy audit at
to find out how to make your home more energy efficient.
Energy equipment –
Your natural gas equipment should be inspected annually to ensure it is working efficiently and safely. (
Yankee Gas performs these inspections, for a fee, each year from April 1 – September 30.
Matching Payment Program –
Provides low-income heating customers who have past-due balances, gas service year-round and the possibility of forgiveness of back balances owed.
This low-income residential conservation program is made up of three primary components; energy audits, insulation, courtesy weatherization and hot water measures.
What is Yankee Gas doing?
Yankee Gas purchases cost-effective, reliable natural gas supplies that provide flexibility to meet customer needs through the heating season, including on the coldest days, when demand typically reaches a peak. Yankee’s diversified supply portfolio includes underground storage supplies in four states and in Canada. Because these stored supplies are purchased during a time when prices are typically lower (April – November), this helps to lower gas costs in the winter. This year, however, the prices during the fill season were higher than they were in 2004. That will mean higher costs to customers this winter. Local natural gas utilities, like Yankee, don’t make any money off these higher prices. Utility companies are like FedEx or UPS – they are delivery companies that bring natural gas to your house, and the rates utilities charge to do so are regulated by state officials.
Yankee Gas, like all of Connecticut’s natural gas companies, has the benefit of a Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA) that helps to smooth gas costs for customers. The PGA is reviewed and approved monthly by state regulators to reflect the actual cost of the commodity, above what is already built into rates.
Planning for the future is also under way. Construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Waterbury is in progress; the plant is scheduled to be online for the 2007/2008 heating season and will further help to mitigate price volatility for customers.
For more information, visit
(go to “Home Customer”) or
. To apply for energy assistance, call InfoLine at 211 to locate the nearest Community Action Agency. For the full AGA study on low income assistance needs, visit
Yankee Gas Services Company (Yankee Gas) is Connecticut’s largest natural gas distribution company, delivering safe, reliable natural gas service to approximately 194,000 customers in 71 cities and towns. Yankee Gas is expanding Connecticut’s energy options and increasing customer choice by extending the availability of clean, efficient natural gas throughout the state. Yankee Gas is part of the Northeast Utilities System (NYSE: NU). For more information, please visit
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