Just in time for winter weather, customers of National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. will be paying lower prices.
The utility announced Friday a quarterly rate adjustment, which takes effect today, that will lower the delivered price of natural gas by 8.96 percent.
The new delivered price — $8.06 per thousand cubic feet — is the lowest in 12 years.
The last time prices were this low was May 2002. This adjustment, which reflects the falling price of natural gas on the wholesale market, will lower the monthly bill of a typical resident of northwestern Pennsylvania from $76.87 to $69.98.
“This adjustment to gas supply charges reflects a decline in the market price of gas since the company lowered gas costs on Aug. 1,” said Sandra James, a spokeswoman for the utility.
Locally, natural gas prices reached a peak in 2008. In August of that year, National Fuel briefly set the price of delivered natural gas at $19.71 per thousand cubic feet.
Since then, natural gas drilling in the U.S. has increased dramatically as energy companies have tapped reserves in the Marcellus and Utica Shale.
The company acknowledged the importance of gas exploration in its announcement Friday.
The price cut, the utility said, “is due, in part, to increased production of Marcellus Shale gas. Customers can be assured that a steady supply of natural gas and the gas supplies stored by the company in preparation for winter will more than meet heating demands this winter.”
National Fuel, like other utilities in Pennsylvania, is required to pass along the cost of natural gas dollar for dollar and can adjust those prices every three months.
The company’s next chance to adjust prices comes Feb. 1.
JIM MARTIN can be reached at 870-1668 or by e-mail. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNmartin.