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Budget Bills to Increase for Most Columbia Gas of Ohio Residential Customers

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Columbus, OH -- Higher natural gas prices and a much colder than normal winter will result in an increase in the bills of most Columbia Gas of Ohio residential customers participating in the Budget Payment Plan.

Effective immediately, the average monthly budget payment plan amount will increase by 30 percent, or $20.00, for most residential customers participating in the Budget Payment Plan. The increase from the current average of $67.00 to $87.00 is reflective of a significantly colder than normal winter that resulted in higher market prices for natural gas and increased consumption.

Columbia Gas reviews budget accounts each winter to determine the impact of weather conditions and swings in the market price of natural gas. The company adjusts budget customers’ payment amounts, if necessary, to keep them on track with actual account balances. Each customer’s budget billing amount is different, and may be higher or lower than the average.

The Budget Payment Plan spreads natural gas costs evenly over a 12-month period, lessening the impact of winter heating bills. The amount is based on historical gas usage patterns for the home, the projected cost of natural gas on the wholesale market, and current rates for service and delivery.

Approximately 72 percent of a wintertime natural gas bill is comprised of the cost of natural gas. The best way to impact and lower natural gas bills is to lower consumption. Columbia Gas offers several energy efficiency programs for all income levels. These programs provide for a home energy inspection or audit, and safety checks of natural gas appliances. The programs also provide additional incentives to implement recommendations made by the professional energy auditors. More information is available at Save Energy & Money.

Columbia Gas of Ohio safely delivers clean and efficient natural gas to approximately 1.4 million customers in 61 of Ohio’s 88 counties. With headquarters in Columbus, it is one of the seven energy distribution companies of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) and is the largest natural gas utility in the state. NiSource companies deliver energy to approximately 3.8 million customers located within the high-demand energy corridor stretching from the Gulf Coast through the Midwest to New England.

Be sure to call 811 at least two business days before you dig. For information about natural gas safety and what to do if you suspect a gas leak, go to SafeGasOhio.org.