Officials cite the rise in cost upon current market indicators for wholesale natural gas supplies. Changes in wholesale gas prices or changes in normal temperatures will affect consumer’s actual bills, officials said.
“Reliable natural gas service for our customers is our top priority, and supplies of natural gas are expected to be adequate again this winter to meet our customers’ needs, said John Paris, president of Atmos Energy’s Kentucky’s Division.
A release from the company said an average residential customer can expect to pay approximately $584 during the winter months from October to March. The average customer paid $531 last year, which boasted warmer temperatures than normal. The figures were determined assuming normal winter temperatures.
“The tight balance between natural gas supply and demand has put upward pressure on gas prices, but we are doing everything we can to deliver reliable gas supplies at stable prices,” Paris said.
Atmos Energy does not mark up the price of natural gas for their customers. Rather, income is generated through delivery of the gas and for maintaining its utility distribution system. According to the company, 80-percent of a customer’s total bill during winter months covers the cost of gas alone. The Kentucky Public Service Commission regulates delivery prices.
According to the release, wholesale natural gas prices have risen in recent years due to the increase in demand for the product because of its cleanliness and efficiency.
Natural gas is not typically imported, rather it is a domestic resource. Eighty-six percent of all natural gas supply is generated in the United States with an additional 12-percent coming from Canada and two percent coming from overseas as a condensed liquid.
Nationwide, the U.S. Department of Energy said in its latest report that natural gas remains as the best value for heating a home.
“Ultimately, the challenge of satidfying the growing demand for natural gas is a national problem that calls for a national solution,” Paris said.
Atmos serves about 1.7 million customers nationwide. It also serves 1,000 small and meduim-sized communities in 12 states from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Rocky Mountains. There are approximately 180,000 customers in western and central Kentucky.