Highest natural gas price since 2010 drives a spike in Pennsylvania home energy costs

Natural gas prices are hitting levels not seen for more than a decade, and electric bills will go up across the commonwealth – though not equally.

Natural gas spot prices will hit $6.09 per million British thermal units for the winter, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which is “the highest real price since winter 2009-10.”

For Pennsylvania households, it means that many natural gas and electric companies will increase prices.

“As we approach the winter heating season, now is the time for consumers to consider ways to improve energy efficiency and conservation around their home or business,” the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission noted in a press release about price increases.

Starting Dec. 1, the price for electricity generation will go up for almost all electricity companies:

Citizens Electric, up to 12.2259 cents per kWh (31%).Duquesne Light, up to 11.25 cents per kWh (20.2%).Met-Ed, up to 10.303 cents per kWh (10%).PECO, up to 9.855 cents per kWh (15.8%).Penelec, down to 9.889 cents per kWh (-1%).Penn Power, up to 10.511 cents per kWh (2%).Pike Co. Light & Power, 1 PTC not finalized – currently at 12.8994 cents per kWh.PPL, up to 14.612 cents per kWh (18%).UGI Electric, no PTC change on Dec. 1 from the current 12.903 cents per kWh.Wellsboro Electric, up to 12.816 cents per kWh (34%).West Penn Power, up to 8.517 cents per kWh (3%).

Duquesne Light and PECO cover Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, respectively.

The increases aren’t a 1:1 price increase, however. The price increase affects the generation/supply charge for a Pennsylvanian’s electric bill, which is generally 40% to 60% of the total cost of a customer’s bill.

The story is similar for natural gas prices. The price change will be 40% to 60% of a customer’s bill, but not all companies are increasing prices:

Columbia Gas of PA, up to $0.7457 per therm (128%).National Fuel Gas, down to $0.8778 per Ccf (-2.9%).PECO, down to $0.8179 per Ccf (-2%).Peoples Natural Gas Co., down to $8.1342 per Mcf (-6.6%).Peoples Gas Co. LLC, down to $8.1342 per Mcf (-6.6%).Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW), down to $0.8999 per Ccf (-4.2%).UGI Utilities, up to $0.86063 per Ccf (1%).Valley Energy, up to $0.82047 per Ccf (96.5%).

Columbia Gas covers 442,000 customers through western Pennsylvania and along the Maryland border, while Valley Energy covers about 9,000 customers in Bradford County and New York.

Those price increases are on the heels of other price increases over the summer, as The Center Square previously reported.

The PUC encourages customers to reduce energy consumption to lower their bills and compare utilities for lower rates at PAPowerSwitch and PAGasSwitch. For Pennsylvanians struggling to pay their bills, assistance programs are also available by contacting their utility supplier.

“Public utilities are the first and most direct mechanisms to link struggling households with much-needed assistance. Utilities understand the assistance programs available in their communities for income-qualified consumers,” the PUC noted.

Natural gas production has steadily increased in Pennsylvania since 2018 and driven up impact fees paid to the state to $275 million, its highest level on record, as The Center Square previously reported. However, lingering issues from the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine have driven up energy prices.

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