MERCER COUNTY National Fuel Gas drops price

A residential customer using 120,000 cubic feet of gas a year will save $130.
SHARON, Pa. -- National Fuel Gas is rolling back the price of natural gas again, this time announcing an 11.5 percent drop in the gas cost rate effective immediately.
The reduction follows a 24 percent decrease in the gas cost rate in early August.
"Residential rates will now be about $1 per Mcf [1,000 cubic feet] lower than last November and about $4 per Mcf less than rates which took effect in May 2001," said Nancy Taylor, spokeswoman.
The typical residential customer using 120,000 cubic feet of gas annually will see the bill drop from $1,129 to $999 per year, Taylor said.
Natural gas prices in the marketplace have dropped dramatically since last winter as supply and demand have balanced out, she said.
By law, utilities must pass that cost directly on to consumers on a dollar-for-dollar basis and can't make any profit on the transaction.
National Fuel serves more than 210,000 customers in 14 northwestern Pennsylvania counties, including 30,000 in Mercer County, but none in Lawrence County.
What happened: The company, faced with rising market costs for gas last fall, raised its rates by 19 percent in September 2000 and another 24.5 percent in February of this year, raising the average residential bill to $1,486 per year.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission allows the utility to adjust its gas cost rate on a quarterly basis.

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