Heating bills should be cheaper this winter, utility says

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Citizens Energy Group is projecting that the natural gas bill of its average residential customer will decline about 7 percent over the winter compared with the last heating season.

The Marion County utility said Wednesday that customers who use a typical 631 therms of natural gas from November through March will spend about $580 to heat their residences, down from an average of $620 last season.

Cheaper gas bills can be attributed to lower natural gas costs, Citizens President and CEO Carey Lykins said in a written statement. Natural gas prices are not set by local utilities, he said, but by supply and demand.

“This year’s decline in natural gas prices and the associated decline in gas bills continue to be great news for all of our Marion County customers,” Lykins said. “However, we remain sensitive to the large number of our customers who will need assistance this winter given the challenges the economy still faces.”

A spokesman for Citizens said the utility did not predict whether commercial customers would see similar savings in their rates.

Citizens said it expects to contribute more than $1.2 million this winter to energy-assistance programs.


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