Gas rate set to decline

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Average household to save $10.50 on monthly bill

By Kirsten Laskey

While higher electric bills loom on the horizon for local residents – there is an upside. On Tuesday, the Los Alamos County Council approved a 22 percent natural gas rate decrease.
“I feel whenever we can find the savings for the ratepayers we should pass the savings along to them,” Councilor Vincent Chiravalle told the Los Alamos Monitor Friday. “Gas prices have gone down and therefore it is appropriate for us to reduce rates for our customers.”
The DPU forecasts the average cost of gas for the next year will run about 30 cents per therm, (unit of heat energy), rather than 40 cents. Residential and commercial customers will realize a reduction from 70 cents to 55 cents per therm and the cost reduction for county and school customers will go from 67 cents to 52 cents per therm.
DPU Public Relations Manager Julie Williams-Hill said the average household uses 70 therms a month, which equates to an estimated average monthly savings per family of $10.50.
DPU manager John Arrowsmith said the rate was decreased “because we buy our gas on the spot market (index price) every month and that price has been much lower than expected.”
The recession has weakened the demand for gas, Arrowsmith said, adding also that new techniques have generated an increase in  gas supplies.

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