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PG&E Utility Says March Gas Bills Down 37%

Mirroring a similar decrease a month earlier, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. Wednesday again said it expected another big decrease in natural gas utility bills this month, compared to last month, with bills expected to be down 36.8% for residential customers. PG&E's utility said the average residential bill for March is expected to be $68.05, compared with $107.60 last month, although the cost of natural gas remains 24% higher than it was in March 2005.

"Nationwide prices for natural gas continue to drop both due to milder weather throughout the nation and reduced usage in March," the utility said. "Both spot and near-term forward prices have continued to fall in the past month."

As a result, PG&E said nationally and in its operations there are "lower prices and ample storage" to meet the rest of the heating season loads throughout the United States, including northern and central California.

PG&E's utility winter savings incentive program -- "10/20" giving 20% bill credits for 10% usage reductions -- again has had an impact on reducing customers' use and lowering commodity costs and the customers' bills, according to the utility. Under the program, customers who reduce their use cumulatively for the three months of January through March, compared to the same period last year, earn a 20% rebate on their next monthly bill.

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