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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • CNG predicts 10% rate decrease this winter

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  • CORNING | Corning Natural Gas is projecting its gas prices to be 10 percent lower this winter than last winter.
    CNG’s commodity rate for natural gas to be charged to customers in August will be 42 cents per 100 cubic feet, which will be the lowest August rate in a decade, according to Russ Miller, the company’s vice president of gas supply and marketing.
    Executives say several factors are driving the lower monthly gas cost, including lower regional wholesale prices and the company’s ongoing efforts to tap into more gas produced locally, including Marcellus Shale wells in Pennsylvania and Trenton-Black River formation wells in New York.
    The low prices this summer bode well for the winter, as CNG has already purchased two-thirds of the gas it expects to distribute this winter at rates about 10 percent less than last winter. That means the commodity rate will be about 10 percent less than last winter.
    When CNG buys the gas in advance, it either buys the actual gas and places it in storage with a gas storage company such as Dominion; or “pre-orders” from wholesalers at a locked-in rate, explained Jerry Sleve, CNG’s vice president of administration.
    Only a third of CNG’s gas will be bought this winter, giving the company some flexibility to meet actual demand.
    CNG doesn’t mark up the commodity rate of gas when it sells to customers. There’s a separate charge, the delivery rate, that covers the company’s administrative costs as well as the cost of maintaining and upgrading its distribution network.
    Sleve said CNG is continuing a “very aggressive campaign” to replace all of its bare steel pipes - which corrode over time - with high-density plastic pipes. The company is spending $6 million or more annually, replacing 7 to 10 miles of main line each year, he said.
    The state’s Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities, approved a three-year delivery rate increase plan for CNG in 2012. Under the rate plan, CNG raised its delivery rates by 3.96 percent in 2012; 3.77 percent in 2013; and 1.31 percent this year.
    Sleve said CNG hasn’t determined if it will seek another delivery rate increase in the near future.
    CNG serves approximately 15,000 households and businesses in the greater Corning area. It serves an area that stretches from Southport to Hammondsport, and includes Corning, Painted Post, Erwin, Caton, Lindley, Savona, Campbell and Addison.

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