Gas bills hit middle ground

Gas bills hit middle ground

By Joe Baker, Senior Editor

Nicor Gas has filed its January 2003 supply charge with the Illinois Commerce Commission. Nicor said the charge will be 54 cents per therm.

That figure is Nicor’s cost for the gas, which it says is furnished to its customers without markup. The company said the supply charge was unusually low and high in the past two years. In January 2002, the charge was 27 cents per therm, and in January 2001, it was 95 cents per therm.

“The natural gas costs that we’re experiencing this winter fall between the extremes of the past two years,” said Ted Lenart, Nicor’s assistant vice-president of supply operations.

“Last winter,” Lenart said, “gas prices were uncharacteristically low due to reduced demand because of warmer than normal weather. The previous year, gas prices were unusually high due to increased weather-drive demand due to nationally cold temperatures and relatively low supply levels. Gas prices are back up again this winter, but we do not expect gas bills to be as high as they were two years ago.”

Lenart explained that the commodity price for natural gas is influenced by the amount of gas in storage, how much is being produced and, most importantly, the weather. Colder than normal weather this November and December across the country has greatly affected the increase in natural gas usage and led to higher prices.

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