As warm spell causes natural gas consumption to lag, PGW taps customers to cover costs

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 (NewsWorks file photo)

(NewsWorks file photo)

The warm weather is causing residents and businesses to cut back on the use of natural gas to heat homes and facilities.

That is unarguably good for consumers, but tough on Philadelphia Gas Works.

 

The utility is exercising an option to cushion the blow to its bottom line.

Through the “weather normalization adjustment,” PGW has collected about $5 million from consumers beyond what those customers have racked up in natural gas costs during the warm spell.

The program is designed to cover fixed costs of running the utility, said spokesman Barry O’Sullivan.

“It allows PGW to operate on a basis where it doesn’t have to be at the mercy of the weather,” he said.

O’Sullivan said utility officials believe the adjustment is better than hitting consumers with higher bills when it’s super-cold outside. And it allows for providing customers with rebates when a long-term cold snap sets in.

“Allows consumers to have a more stabilized bill, allows them to avoid them paying hugely increased bills when the weather is colder than normal and then asks them to normalize their rates when the weather is warmer than normal,” he explained.

During last year’s long, drawn-out winter, the utility returned $10.75 million to customers, applying it to their bills monthly.

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