By Mike Boyer
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The typical bill for residential natural gas customers in Southwest Ohio will be about 14 percent higher in March than a year ago, Cinergy Corp. said Thursday.
Despite the higher year-over-year cost, the utility holding company said the typical homeowner's bill will be down from this month - because of lower wholesale gas prices and smaller adjustments to recover uncollected gas costs.
The parent of Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co. said a homeowner using 10,800 cubic feet of gas will pay $111.56 starting Monday compared with $97.62 last March. In February, that same customer is paying $118.21.
In Northern Kentucky, customers of Union Light, Heat & Power will pay $113.33 for the same amount of gas in March, up 12 percent from $100.86 a year ago. This month that same customer paid $114.72.
By law, Cinergy is required to pass the cost of gas it supplies to customers on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The gas cost, which typically represents about two-thirds or more of the monthly gas bill, will be $79.63 in March for the typical customer, up from $67.82 last March in CG&E's service area.
In ULH&P's service area, the March gas cost portion of the typical customer's bill will be $75.24 versus $66.98 a year ago.
Cinergy spokesman Steve Brash said the utility is seeing somewhat lower wholesale prices for gas.
The utility typically buys about a third of the gas it supplies during the warmer months and stores it for winter delivery. Another third is bought on long-term contracts to lock in lower prices, and the remaining third is purchased on shorter-term contracts to take advantage of price fluctuations
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