Lower heating bills expected this winter

September 21, 2009 (CHICAGO) Retail natural gas prices have dipped to a seven year low and the savings will be passed down to consumers.

The lower natural gas prices could not come at a better time for many consumers. As they deal with the recession and look to cut costs as the winter chill sets in.

It appears consumers are going to pay considerably less than they did last year to heat their homes.

After a streak of rising heating prices, this comes as some welcome news.

"A recession is certainly a bad thing. First a bubbling of natural gas price, because of it they've come down. But last year's big spike, the federal regulators have determined that supply and demand didn't really explain all that. It could be a couple hundred dollars over the course of a winter, which is real money to put back into pockets," said David Kolata, Citizens Utility Board.

Bonnie Johnson, spokesperson for Peoples Gas, says their customers will also be seeing reductions when they open their bills.

"People should expect when they open that gas bill this winter an amazingly low bill, because gas prices have dropped considerably over the last seven months, and that is the same price we charge the consumers. There is no mark-up. We're talking about a cost savings of approximately $500, and that's for your typical residential heating customer," said Johnson.

Suburban consumers will also save money.

This year, Nicor customers will pay 33 cents per them of natural gas. Last year, the cost was 84 cents.

The South Austin Community Council deals with utility prices on a daily basis . At least forty to fifty people come in ever day saying they cannot afford heating and gas bills. Lower gas prices is good news for their clients.

"I want everything to go down so we can have a good life," said Sam Jackson, senior citizen.

Juanita Rutues of the South Austin Community Council says this is good news for consumers.

"I think it's excellent. We pay enough on gas and electricity for the past five years. I think it's about time that we get something out of it," said Rutues.

Nicor says customers who are on the billing plans that spread high winter payments into summer months allowing for them to pay consistent payments each month will not miss out on the price cuts. Their bills are reviewed every four months and can be adjusted to deal with rising or falling gas prices.

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