Customers of New Jersey Natural Gas will get some relief in their bills in Feburary and March when the utility hands out a credit because wholesale gas prices have fallen. The credit over those two months, which comes after a refund last fall, will total $37.5 million. It will save customers about 27 cents per therm and will be based on usage. A typical residential customer who uses 325 terms during the period will see a savings of about $89, or 20 percent, on their bills. The credit comes as a result of lower wholesale natural gas prices, the utility said in a statement.
“The natural gas commodity market remains volatile, with wholesale prices experiencing significant swings in short periods of time,” the Wall-based utility said. “NJNG will continue to monitor natural gas market conditions and assess whether or not additional rate relief, through an immediate bill credit, may be applicable at a later date.”
Customers had already gotten some good news last fall when the utility said gas bills will drop 23.4 percent, thanks to a refund, amounting to about $80 for the average customer, and a 19 percent drop in the monthly bill as a result of lower wholesale natural gas prices.
Winter heating bills for customers using 164 therms a month, dropped from $273.60 to $222.30, down $51.30. In October, state regulators said New Jersey’s utilities could lower natural gas bills to account for lower wholesale natural gas costs. Utilities make their profits on the distribution of natural gas to homes through their pipes and pass through the costs of the wholesale gas itself.
In Monmouth and Ocean counties, nearly 77 percent of households use natural gas for heat. More than 8 percent use fuel oil while the remainder uses other sources such as electricity (13.1 percent), or propane (1.2 percent), according to U.S. Census estimates. APP