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Yankee Gas Services Company
P.O. Box 270
Hartford, CT 06141-0270
Households in Connecticut that heat with natural gas should benefit from lower prices this winter;
Yankee Gas ready to meet demand
BERLIN, Conn., October 17, 2006 — Households in Connecticut that heat with natural gas should benefit from lower prices this winter. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), natural gas will be the least expensive fuel to heat the average American home this winter. Furthermore, EIA predicts that households in the northeast will spend about 10 percent less on their natural gas heating bills compared to last winter. Approximately 30 percent of homes in Connecticut heat with natural gas.
“This is good news for our customers,” says Raymond P. Necci, president and chief operating officer, Yankee Gas. “Not since the 2001-02 heating season has the price for natural gas been predicted to be lower than the previous heating season. Last season, prices were much higher because two hurricanes had knocked out a large part of the supply chain. Thankfully, warmer-than-usual weather in early 2006 meant customers did not experience the full brunt of those historic price spikes.”
The cost of natural gas is driven by supply and demand. While other factors play a part, the single biggest factor that typically drives up natural gas prices, and customer bills, is cold weather. A customer’s bill depends not only on the cost of the commodity, but also on how much of it is used. By law, the cost of natural gas is passed on to customers without any markup. Yankee Gas earns its money by delivering natural gas, in much the same way that package delivery companies earn their money by delivering packages.
To prepare for the winter, Yankee Gas purchases gas during the summer when prices are typically lower. “We’re ready to meet demand this winter,” says Jay Fletcher, manager of gas management. “We’ve increased the amount of natural gas we have in storage by 50 percent, bringing our total to 12 billion cubic feet (BCF). This additional storage will further help to stabilize customer bills this winter and keep prices below last year’s levels.”
Customers who purchase natural gas from Yankee Gas benefit from the Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA), which helps smooth out price volatility. The PGA, which shows up on monthly bills as the Fuel Charge, reflects the actual cost of the commodity over time. It is reviewed and approved by the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control each month.
To further protect our customers from price volatility, Yankee Gas is constructing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facility in Waterbury, Conn. The facility is expected to be in-service for the 2007-08 heating season. When complete, it will provide greater flexibility and security of supply. Having an LNG facility will allow Yankee Gas to buy natural gas in periods of low demand and low cost, store it as a liquid, and use it during peak demand periods when prices are typically much higher.
Use energy wisely
Consumers can save energy dollars by following these simple tips that can help take the sting out of heating bills:
Have your natural gas equipment inspected annually by a licensed technician to ensure it is working efficiently and safely.
Seal drafts around doors, windows and other openings, such as pipes or ducts, with caulk or weather-stripping.
Set your thermostat between 65 and 70 degrees, or lower, during the winter. You can cut annual heating bills by as much as 10 percent per year by turning back your thermostat 10 to 15 percent for eight hours per day. Consider installing a programmable thermostat that will make the adjustment for you automatically.
Change or clean your furnace filter once per month, or as needed, during the heating season.
Think long-term. Do you have the right amount of insulation in your attic and basement? Does your furnace, boiler or water heater need to be replaced with a new, energy-efficient model? Today’s natural gas equipment is up to 97 percent efficient.
Conduct a home energy audit. For tips, visit www.energysavers.gov.
Yankee Gas Services Company (Yankee Gas) is Connecticut’s largest natural gas distribution company, delivering safe, reliable natural gas service to approximately 196,000 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 www.yankeegas.com.
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