2005-10-14 / Community

KeySpan: The Answers On Winter Energy Costs

In an effort to help understand the complexities of the natural gas market and what consumers can expect this winter, KeySpan Span Energy has issued a fact sheet that the company hopes will answer many of the questions Rockaway residents have in the wake of an unsure energy market.

KeySpan does not raise or lower the price of natural gas.

KeySpan buys natural gas at the price set at the well and sells it to its customers at the same price; there is no markup. KeySpan only has control over the cost of transportation – getting the gas from its source to your home or business – and must receive permission from the Public Service Commission to raise or lower that cost to customers.

KeySpan has not adjusted its NY transportation cost in several years and has no current plans to do so.

What will cause the price of gas to go up or down?

Two major factors will impact the price of gas this winter: hurricane damage and winter cold.

Currently, the price of natural gas is rising due to the reduced supply coming from the Gulf of Mexico.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita did severe damage to the drilling and processing infrastructure in the Gulf and there is no firm timetable on when those resources will become available again, although predictions are being measured in months.

Secondly, winter weather will have an impact on price: colder temperatures increase customers’ bills both due to consumption and supply and demand.

The increase in KeySpan customers’ natural gas bills this winter will be significantly lower than the national average.

While the latest government forecast puts potential natural gas price increases at about 48%, KeySpan customers will see an approximate increase of about 30% in their bills this winter, due to the rise of natural gas prices.

While no increase is easy to bear, KeySpan is pleased that its 18-month strategy to buy gas at lower prices and pass that lower cost on to customers is working.

There are several things KeySpan customers can do to lower their bills:

Reducing consumption: Lowering your thermostat to between 65 and 70 degrees, and only heating those parts of your home you are in at any given time, will cut back on the amount of gas you use.

Efficiency: Replacing dirty furnace filters, insulating ductwork and hot water heaters, and making sure windows and doors are properly weather sealed will help your home use less gas to keep things running comfortably.

Billing plans: Signing up for Balanced Billing and other KeySpan payment plans will help to mitigate costs. Balanced Billing spreads the cost of your bills evenly over 12 months.

Financial Assistance: For those who qualify, LIHEAP (Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program) is a federal program that can assist lower income customers in paying their bills.

Recent stories in the daily papers tell horror stories of rising gas and oil prices in the wake of the world unrest and the two hurricanes that severly impacted energy production in the Gulf of Mexico and its surrounding areas.

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