With natural gas futures prices dropping more than 50% from their Dec. 13, 2005 high of $15.78, utilities across the U.S. continue to announce refunds and rate reductions for customers -- who are paying rates that were adopted during higher prices. Atlanta-based AGL Resources said last week that its residential utility customers from New Jersey to Florida will save nearly $45 million this year as a result of recent rate reductions or refunds at all five of its utility operating companies.
The savings, which are credited to customer bills, result from rate reductions in Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee and Florida and refunds in Tennessee and New Jersey. AGL said the savings per residential customer range from $4 in February and March up to $75 in April. AGL's utilities include Elizabethtown Gas, Elkton Gas, Florida City Gas, Virginia Natural Gas and Chattanooga Gas Co.
"We've taken advantage of a combination of lower than expected gas prices, asset management agreements and storage access to reduce the costs of natural gas purchases at our operating companies in February and March," said Kevin P. Madden, executive vice president of external affairs at AGL. "We're pleased to pass along these savings as quickly as possible to our customers all along the East Coast."
The AGL subsidiaries, under state-approved asset management agreements, work closely with Sequent Energy Management, another AGL Resources company, to buy and store natural gas. AGL said the utilities have worked with their respective state utility commissions to pass along the savings they've achieved to customers as soon as possible.
"With the help of our team at Sequent, we are able to manage larger volumes of gas more effectively and are able to utilize transportation and storage services more efficiently," said Madden. "Our operating companies were able to take advantage of their asset management arrangements with Sequent to accelerate refunds, in addition to general market trends resulting from a warmer than normal winter to create savings that we have been able to pass along to our customers."
Rate reductions and refunds include:
AGL Resources serves 2.2 million customers in six states through its utility subsidiaries.
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