Arctic Temperatures Fuel Demand for Reliable Natural Gas
February 6, 2014
February Gas Supply Charge 51 cents; slight increase from previous month
NAPERVILLE, Ill. – Feb. 6, 2014 – The recent prolonged frigid conditions, the coldest sustained temperatures in more than a decade, have fueled demand and resulted in Nicor Gas customers using more natural gas to heat their homes and businesses.
While furnaces worked harder to warm up frigid air to the temperatures that consumers are accustomed to, Nicor Gas, the largest natural gas company in Illinois, in early January saw a peak one-day demand of 4.5 billion cubic feet – the second-highest daily delivery sendout in the company’s history. Barely into the second month of 2014, has the Illinois utility company, which serves more than 2.2 million customers, already experienced about a 25 percent increase in natural gas deliveries compared to last year.
For the month of February, Nicor Gas has filed a gas supply charge (GSC) with the Illinois Commerce Commission of $0.51 per therm – up $0.05 from the previous month. The GSC reflects the actual cost of natural gas supplies the company purchases and passes along to customers without any markup. Although the monthly gas supply charge has increased slightly due to market conditions, Nicor Gas’ diversified supply purchases, which include utilizing its seven natural gas storage facilities in Illinois, have helped to shield customers from the full effect of current market increases. The company owns and manages seven storage fields in Illinois, which enables them to buy and store natural gas in the summer, when it is traditionally less expensive. On cold winter days, these storage facilities help ensure that Nicor Gas has access to additional supply and lessen the price impact from volatile market prices that often occur during periods of cold weather.
In January the typical customer consumed about 25 percent more natural gas supply than they did for the same period last year. As a result, customers likely will see higher heating bills mainly due to increased consumption.
"It’s always a good idea for customers to evaluate payment plans that are available to help them manage their winter gas bills. Weather can be unpredictable and cause monthly gas bills to fluctuate, especially during the winter months. We encourage our customers to get informed and take advantage of available programs that will help them manage their heating costs this winter,” said Beth Reese president, Nicor Gas.
Consumers have several options, including enrolling in the Budget Payment Plan that allows them to pay a consistent amount every month for a 12-month period and signing up for My Account online that analyzes energy use and compares past and present usage. Participating in the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program provides customers with offers, ideas and rebates to make homes and businesses more energy efficient and save money.
Eligible customers also may apply for financial assistance to help them with their natural gas bills. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a state and federally funded program that provides financial assistance to households with incomes of up to 150% of the federal poverty level to pay their energy bills. For additional information about the grant program, go to www.liheapillinois.com, or call the toll-free LIHEAP information line at 1-877-411-9276.
The Nicor Gas Sharing Program offers eligible applicants financial help by providing one-time annual grants to customers who currently earn between 150% - 200% of the federal poverty level. The program, administered by the Salvation Army, is funded by direct contributions from customers, employees and Nicor Gas. Customers who wish to make a donation and help other customers in need can do so via their monthly gas bill. To apply for assistance from the Nicor Gas Sharing Program, customers should visit their local Salvation Army office.
For more information about managing natural gas heating costs and programs that offer energy assistance, please visit www.nicorgas.com.
About Nicor Gas
Nicor Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS), is a natural gas distribution company that serves more than 2 million customers in a service territory that encompasses most of the northern third of Illinois, excluding the city of Chicago. For more information, visit www.nicorgas.com.
About AGL Resources
AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS) is an Atlanta-based energy services holding company with operations in natural gas distribution, retail operations, wholesale services, midstream operations and cargo shipping. AGL Resources serves approximately 4.5 million utility customers through its regulated distribution subsidiaries in seven states. The company also serves approximately 630,000 retail energy customers and approximately 1.2 million customer service contracts through its SouthStar Energy Services joint venture and Pivotal Home Solutions, which market natural gas and related home services. Other non-utility businesses include asset management for natural gas wholesale customers through Sequent Energy Management, ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities, and ownership of Tropical Shipping, one of the largest containerized cargo carriers serving the Bahamas and Caribbean region. AGL Resources is a member of the S&P 500 Index. For more information, visit www.aglresources.com.