Ameren said that natural gas customers of its Illinois utilities (AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO and AmerenIP) have recently enjoyed significantly lower natural gas costs as compared to one year ago. The gas charge portion of a customer's bill has averaged about 80 cents per therm for Ameren Illinois utility customers during January and February. By contrast, the gas charge averaged about $1.10 per therm during the same period in 2006. However, the company said its customers may receive natural gas bills that are higher than a year ago because they are using more gas this year. Temperatures have been much colder during the first two months of 2007 as compared to the same period last year. For reference, January 2007 was approximately 35% colder than January 2006. The first two weeks of February were about 60% colder than a year ago. Ameren, through its subsidiaries, serves 2.3 million electric and nearly 1 million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Illinois and Missouri.
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