CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Piedmont Natural Gas (NYSE: PNY) released its annual winter bills forecast today for residential customers in its North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee service areas. The Company is projecting that monthly natural gas bills will on average be $10 to $12 lower per month for Piedmont's typical residential customer in the Carolinas and as much as $28 lower per month for its typical residential customer in Tennessee over the coming five month November through March winter period.
Forecast Incorporates Normal Winter Weather, Other Rate Factors
The Company's projections assume normal winter weather for the upcoming November, 2015 through March, 2016 forecast period compared to the prior year's actual winter weather. Last year, winter weather in the Company's North Carolina and South Carolina service area was between 6% and 12% colder than normal. In Piedmont's Tennessee service area, winter weather last year was approximately 12% to 15% colder than normal. Colder weather is the primary factor driving higher customer consumption levels
In addition to the impact of weather on monthly natural gas bills, Piedmont also builds into its forecast the potential impacts of billing rate changes. These billing rate factors include potential changes to the Company's commodity benchmark cost of gas, regulatory adjustments under Piedmont's existing regulated tariffs such as the Company's margin decoupling mechanism and its Integrity Management Rider, and other smaller rate adjustments.
Natural Gas Commodity Costs Expected To Be Lower
Over the upcoming winter period, Piedmont projects that the wholesale commodity cost of natural gas as reflected in customers' monthly natural gas bills will be lower compared to last year's winter period. Piedmont passes on the wholesale cost of natural gas to its customers on a dollar for dollar basis so that customers pay what Piedmont pays for natural gas.
Wholesale costs of natural gas have continued to generally trend downward in recent years as a result of the abundance of domestic natural gas supplies stemming from increased onshore production of natural gas from shale gas deposits.
Company Website a Resource for Energy Saving Tips for Customers
For customers who want to learn more about energy savings tips, Piedmont maintains a separate section on its website devoted to educating customers about their home's energy usage. Visiting www.piedmontng.com could help customers better manage the natural gas they use this winter along with their monthly energy bills. Many of the tips, such as turning the thermostat down several degrees save energy and cost nothing. Others like making sure windows and doors are properly sealed only cost a few dollars. Still other steps, like investing in a programmable thermostat or purchasing higher efficiency natural gas equipment and appliances may cost a bit more upfront but will end up saving the customer both energy and money over the life of the equipment.
The Company's website also provides consumers with several energy calculator tools designed to help customers see what energy their home actually uses and how they can potentially reduce their consumption and better manage their monthly bills.
Piedmont's "Share the Warmth Round Up" Program Assists Others in the Community
Piedmont reminds its customers that its "Share the Warmth Round Up" Program offers customers an easy way to help others in their communities who face economic hardship. Customers may enroll in the Share the Warmth Round Up Program to round up their monthly natural gas bills to the nearest dollar. The amount rounded up provides emergency energy assistance funds to individuals and families within the communities Piedmont serves, regardless of what energy is used in the home or even what time of year the need arises. Piedmont also contributes funds to the energy assistance program and, since 2003, has provided more than $1.9 million to its Share the Warmth partner agencies.
For those customers who want to learn more about the Share the Warmth Round Up Program or to enroll in the program, they are encouraged to visit Piedmont's website at www.piedmontng.com.
About Piedmont Natural Gas
Piedmont Natural Gas is an energy services company primarily engaged in the distribution of natural gas to more than one million residential, commercial, industrial and power generation utility customers in portions of North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, including customers served by municipalities who are wholesale customers. Our subsidiaries are invested in joint venture, energy-related businesses, including unregulated retail natural gas marketing, and regulated interstate natural gas transportation and storage and intrastate natural gas transportation businesses. More information about Piedmont Natural Gas is available on the Internet at http://www.piedmontng.com/.
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SOURCE Piedmont Natural Gas