Peoples Natural Gas customers will pay a bit more for natural gas beginning today.
The cost recovery rate, about 75 percent of a customer's bill, will increase from $5.66 per thousand cubic feet to $5.76 per thousand cubic feet, said Joe Gregorini, manager of pricing and regulatory affairs.
That price will remain in effect through June 30.
The increase, coupled with an increase in the delivery fee from $2.49 to $2.51 per mcf, translates into a 1.2 percent increase for the average residential customer - from $72.30 to $73.20 per month. The average residential customer, according to Gregorini, uses about 91,000 cubic feet a year or 7.6 per mcf a month.
Peoples' flat monthly fee of $11 will remain unchanged.
"The good news is that gas prices are staying on the low side. We are not seeing much change. They should stay pretty steady for the next quarter," Gregorini said.
Alex King, an economist with the U.S. Energy Information Administration, said the current increase seems reasonable.
"That price doesn't seem out of line," King said. "The prices are low and stable right now. They are at one of the lowest points we have seen in the past couple of years. That seems within reason."
Meanwhile, customers likely will see prices continue to rise throughout the next year.
In March, Peoples filed a request with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to increase natural gas rates as of Oct. 1. Under Peoples' proposal, the overall increase would be about 4.9 percent. If that comes to fruition, the average residential customer would see his bill increase in October by about $3.52 per month.
"The annual filing in March is a projection for the next year - a long-range forecast that ultimately gets changed quarterly," Gregorini said. "Our projected increase is low compared to prior years. We do quarterly adjustments based on the market price at the time."
Peoples serves 355,000 customers in 16 western Pennsylvania counties, including 31,200 homes in Blair County.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.