Thursday, March 01, 2001

Utilities passing along higher gas rates

By Mike Boyer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Spring's approaching, but Cincinnati-area residents who heat with natural gas will be hard pressed to notice it in their utility bills.

        Higher rates, reflecting the cost of natural gas supplied to customrs of Cincin nati Gas & Electric and Union Light, Heat & Power Co., take effect today. As temperatures rise, residential gas consumption — and as a result, customer bills — are lower now than they were during the depths of winter.

        But for residential customers of CG&E, the cost of gas will go up about 4 percent, as the gas cost recovery rate will increase from about 74 cents to 77 cents per hundred cubic feet. For the typical residential customer us ing 10,800 cubic feet of gas, the monthly bill — already pushed higher by other rate hikes this heating season — will be $114.36. That's up from $67.30 a year ago.

        In Northern Kentucky, residential customers of ULH&P will pay 79 cents, up from 75 cents per hundred cubic feet. For the same typ ical residential customer, the monthly bill would be $120.56, compared with $74.59 a year ago.

        Although wholesale gas costs have declined from their winter peak, the new rates reflect about $63 million that CG&E and ULH&P didn't recover this winter, a utility spokesman said.

Heating bill relief still available

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