For More Information Contact: Richard Caragol, 630-388-2686
National experts forecast an 18% increase in residential gas cost over last year. Nicor Gas customers should take appropriate steps to manage their heating costs this winter as natural gas prices remain volatile. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is predicting an 18% increase in residential gas cost over the same period, October -March, of last year.
Nicor Gas has filed an October gas supply cost (GSC) of $0.81 per therm with the Illinois Commerce Commission, down 3 cents compared to September. The increase predicted by the EIA will apply to only one part of customers' bills, natural gas cost or gas supply cost (GSC).
Customer bills are broken down into three parts; GSC, delivery charge, and taxes. The largest part of a customers' bill, 75-80%, is the cost of natural gas which Nicor Gas makes no profit on as this cost is passed along to customers without mark-up. The delivery charge, 15-20%, is the cost to deliver the gas, maintain and upgrade the transportation system, respond to emergencies, provide customer service, as well as other operating expenses. The remaining portion of customers' annual bill, 5-10%, is state and local taxes.
"As natural gas prices are volatile, it is difficult to predict with any certainty what gas costs will be during the heating season. Nicor Gas believes in the importance of providing a variety of bill payment programs, financial assistance options, and energy efficiency tools and tips that will allow customers greater control of their energy usage and cost," said Kevin Kirby, Vice President Customer Care for Nicor Gas.
Bill Management Options
Nicor Gas Budget Plan
The Nicor Gas Budget Plan provides a convenient way for customers to pay their natural gas bill every month as well as a great payment option for customers who like to plan ahead. Payments are spread out over a 12-month period and periodically adjusted to correct for future gas prices and expected usage. Customers interested in signing up for the Budget Plan can caII1-888-Nicor4U (1 888642-6748) or visit the company Web site at www.nicorgas.com.
Deferred Payment Arrangement (DPA)
Customers who have fallen behind on their bills should contact Nicor Gas immediately. A deferred payment arrangement allows customers the ability to catch up on their past due amounts over a specified period of time spreading the cost of payments across future bills. Contacting Nicor Gas early and establishing a DP A will maintain customers service without disruption.
Eligible customers who are currently disconnected for non-payment can contact Nicor Gas for the opportunity to have service restored by paying one-third of the total past due balance and be set up with payment arrangements to payoff the remaining balance over the next four months.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Plan (LIHEAP)
LIHEAP is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the State of Illinois and is administered by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. This year funding was increased by the federal government to provide help to more families. To qualify, household monthly income cannot exceed 150 percent of the federally established poverty level. For more information or to apply for assistance, go to www.liheapillinois.com, or call the toll-free LIHEAP information line at 1-877-411-WARM (1-877-411-9276).
Using Energy Wisely
Customers can access an entire host of online tips and tools at www.nicorgas.com that can help guide them on how to use energy wisely.
Nicor Gas is one of the nation's largest gas distribution companies. Owned by Nicor Inc. (NYSE: GAS) a holding company, Nicor Gas has provided safe and reliable natural gas services for over 50 years. The Company serves more than two million customers in a service territory that encompasses most of the northern third of Illinois, excluding the city of Chicago. For more information on Nicor Gas, visit www.nicorgas.com.