There’s good news for Atmos Energy Corporation customers in Northeast Missouri. Natural gas prices are being reduced drastically starting Friday, May 1.


There’s good news for Atmos Energy Corporation customers in Northeast Missouri. Natural gas prices are being reduced drastically starting Friday, May 1.
“This is certainly good news for Atmos natural gas customers,” said Robert M. Clayton III, chairman of the Public Service Commission, in a press release. “The cost of natural gas from wholesale suppliers has dropped significantly since the record high prices of last summer and customer rates are reflecting that. This is the second rate decrease for Atmos customers since June and the reduction that will take effect this Friday is substantial.”
Residential customers have been paying $0.95 per Ccf (per hundred cubic feet) of natural gas. The rate is dropping to approximately $0.38 per Ccf.
“It’s very drastic. I can’t remember the last time that gas was that cheap. It’s been 10 years or more,” said Steve Green, manager of public affairs for Atmos.
Among those applauding the news of the rate reduction was Betty Whittaker, CSDG program director with the North East Community Action Corporation (NECAC).
“How great is that? That’s super. With everything else going up that is just awesome. It’s good for our clients; it’s good for us. It’s good for everybody,” she said.
Between last October and the end of March, NECAC processed over 10,000 applications for energy assistance in its 12-county area.
“We did about 8,000 last year, so this was a significant increase. All over the state they did see an increase in all the applicants that we had and folks that we helped,” said Whittaker. “Hopefully folks will be able to afford their gas bills now and not need as much help from us, which is a good thing. We’re always there to help, but it’s always good to hear when these gas prices go down and our clients ... our families can reap the benefit of that and be able to afford other things they need and not so much money go for utility bills.”
Even Atmos was applauding the rate reduction.
“It’s great,” said Green. “We do not make money on the cost of gas itself. Whatever the cost of gas is is passed on to the consumer. If it goes up, the PGA (purchased gas adjustment) goes up. If it goes down, it goes down. This time it went drastically down.”
Nicki McGlone-Santistevan, plant manager at BASF, said that while it does not purchase its natural gas from Atmos, it has benefitted from recent declines in the price of natural gas.
How long with the prices stay down?
“I think a lot of it is going to depend on the economy. If the economy gets kicked off this summer or late in the year, I think you’ll start to see the prices go back up,” said Green. “Hopefully we’ll see it into 2010. It’s hard to predict the (natural gas) market with the economy the way it is. It’s going to take a while to increase the demand I think.”