Some 56,000 Columbia Gas customers using the company’s budget payment plan system saw a decrease in their bills this summer, thanks to low natural gas prices and a relatively mild winter.
Budget accounts are reviewed each spring and that is why most customers saw the savings in their May statements.
The Columbia Gas budget payment plan spreads natural gas costs evenly over a 12-month period and is designed to help customers avoid extremely high heating bills in the winter months.
The plan is based on historical gas usage patterns for the home, the projected cost of natural gas on the wholesale market and current rates for service and
delivery, according to Columbia Gas officials.
An average bill reduction amount this spring was about $10. Because each customers' budget billing is different, a few customers likely saw an increase in their bills while others saw little or no change, according to company officials.
“With all of the concern today about rising energy prices, it’s great
to know that natural gas prices remain low and are expected to be stable
for the foreseeable future,” Columbia Gas of Virginia President Carl
Levander said in a press release. “With many families still struggling to make ends' meet in a slowly recovering economy, this is good news.”
Columbia Gas serves about 245,000 customers in Virginia and is part of NiSource Inc. which serves 3.8 million customers in the United States.