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Low-Priced Gas Pushes PECO to More Than 500,000 Customers

Thanks to low natural gas prices, Philadelphia-based PECO said Wednesday its natural gas supply business has ballooned to more than 500,000 customers in southeastern Pennsylvania.

“We are always looking for ways to provide safe, reliable and cost-effective energy solutions to our customers, and expanding natural gas service is part of those efforts,” said CEO Craig Adams.

The electric and natural gas utility subsidiary of Exelon Corp. attributed the customer growth to low natural gas prices triggering increased demand for gas service throughout the region. In addition, PECO said future commodity prices are projected to remain low, positioning natural gas as an economical, long-term investment for customers.

The utility currently operates and maintains more than 12,000 miles of natural gas distribution and service lines serving customers across Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and a small portion of Lancaster counties in the state.

PECO said it would invest approximately $90 million in its natural gas system during 2014, which would include inspecting equipment, completing necessary repairs or replacements, performing preventative maintenance work, and installing additional natural gas main and service lines to bring natural gas service to new customers.

In addition to gas supply, PECO is also working on adding to its compressed natural gas (CNG) infrastructure to help serve its fleet vehicles in the region. In March, Adams said the utility intends to expand its CNG facilities throughout southeast Pennsylvania (see Daily GPI, March 6).

In addition to serving 500,000-plus gas customers, PECO also has 1.6 million electric customers across southeastern Pennsylvania. During 2013 the utility delivered 85.7 Bcf of gas and 37.8 billion kWh of electricity.

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