CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Piedmont Natural Gas (NYSE: PNY) filed this week to further reduce its natural gas rates in both North Carolina and South Carolina as a result of falling wholesale natural gas costs that are being driven by the nation's abundant supply of natural gas, increased on-shore production from shale gas, and a warmer than normal start to the 2011-2012 winter heating season. The new rates, if approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission and the Public Service Commission of South Carolina, would mark the eighth time since December 2008 that Piedmont has reduced its customer billing rates in North Carolina and South Carolina as a result of falling natural gas costs. The lower rates would become effective Jan. 1, 2012.
The wholesale cost of natural gas, which accounts for approximately 60 to 70 percent of a residential customer's typical winter bill, has fallen by more than 55 percent in the last 3 years. As a result, Piedmont's average residential customer in North Carolina and South Carolina will pay approximately $175 less in wholesale natural gas costs this winter compared with the winter of 2008-2009 assuming normal winter weather. Collectively, Piedmont's residential customers in North Carolina and South Carolina will save approximately $125 million in wholesale natural gas costs this winter compared with the winter of 2008/09.
Commenting on the decline in natural gas costs, Thomas E. Skains, Piedmont's Chairman, President, and CEO said, "The continuing decline in natural gas costs is a dramatic win not only for Piedmont's customers but for natural gas customers across the nation. This puts money back into the pockets of consumers and back into the economy. At the same time, the U.S. natural gas industry is creating jobs at a time when we need them the most. For all its economic, environmental and national security benefits, and its efficiency and reliability, natural gas is truly a foundation fuel for a new energy economy."
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