Citizens warns of higher home gas bills in January

Citizens Energy Group announced Tuesday that the typical January gas bill for residential customers in Marion County would rise about 7.2 percent over the same month this year.

The typical heating bill last January was $146.30, according to the utility. Next month, assuming normal temperatures, the bill will rise to $156.80.

Citizens is passing along to consumers the rising cost of natural gas. "[The rates] are not set by local utilities like Citizens Energy Group, but rather by the forces of supply and demand," Citizens said. "In accordance with state law, Citizens customers pay exactly what the utility pays for natural gas that is delivered to them."

Citizens is a not-for-profit, public charitable trust. However, it has taken heat in recent years for pay bumps for its top brass.

Citizens lost $81.3 million in fiscal 2013, and its CEO’s pay dropped by $1 million from the previous year, when his bonus-fueled compensation provoked questions from regulators.

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