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Washington Gas Expects Slight Decrease in Winter Heating Bills and Encourages Customers to Prepare for Heating Season

Category:

Thursday, October 8, 2009 3:54 pm EDT

Dateline:

WASHINGTON

Public Company Information:

NYSE:
WGL

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Washington Gas announced today that its customers could expect a 10 to 20 percent decrease in winter heating bills compared with last winter’s bills. The reduction is attributed to gas commodity prices forecasted to be lower than in the winter 2008-2009 winter heating season, as well as a lower consumption forecast, based on normal weather instead of the colder-than-normal 2008-2009 winter. Despite the forecast for lower bills, prices may vary if colder-than-expected temperatures result in an increased demand for natural gas.

“While colder weather and increased demand can increase the market price for natural gas, Washington Gas has already purchased a significant portion of our anticipated winter supplies at prices that are locked in or capped, and that approach will help in protecting customers against seasonal price increases,” said Adrian Chapman, president and chief operating officer at Washington Gas. “The increased domestic supplies of natural gas have resulted in significantly lower commodity prices and our purchasing strategy was well positioned to take advantage of the market developments.”

Gas supply costs - the amount Washington Gas pays to acquire natural gas and have the gas delivered to the system - make up about two-thirds of the average customer’s heating bill. This price appears on the customer’s bill as the per “therm” charge. As a regulated utility, Washington Gas does not charge customers more than the same price that the company pays for the gas supply. The rest of a customer’s bill consists of distribution costs, taxes or other fees levied by state and local governments.

As colder weather approaches, Washington Gas continues to encourage all customers to prepare their homes for the winter heating season by practicing energy efficiency, including the following low-cost or no-cost tips:

  • Change or clean furnace/air filters once a month and schedule an annual check-up with a licensed professional.
  • Caulk and weather strip around doors and windows.
  • Install rubber gaskets behind outlet and switch plates.
  • Turn the water heater down to warm or low settings, never more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Wash full loads of laundry and dishes.
  • Use cold water for laundry using specially formulated cold-water detergents.
  • Consider installing new, high-efficiency appliances.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR energy-efficient product label.
  • Consider purchasing a programmable thermostat, which automatically lowers the temperature setting at night and increases the setting during the day.

For those customers having difficulty paying their gas bills, Washington Gas recommends the following options:

  • The Washington Gas Budget Plan: This plan allows eligible customers to spread the cost of winter heating over the entire year. It helps to minimize the impact of typically higher seasonal bills and provides greater flexibility in managing a household budget. If customers are having difficulty paying winter heating bills, they should call Washington Gas at 703-750-1000 as soon as possible to discuss any concerns or billing issues.
  • Customer Choice: This is an option for customers to buy their natural gas from an energy company other than Washington Gas. They can visit washingtongas.com and click on Customer Choice. Regardless of which company sells natural gas to customers, Washington Gas will deliver it and respond to gas emergencies around the clock.
  • The Washington Area Fuel Fund: WAFF was founded by Washington Gas nearly 25 years ago. This financial assistance program helps families who do not qualify for, or who have exhausted, government energy assistance. Administered by The Salvation Army, WAFF provides funds for all types of fuel to heat families’ homes in the winter. To date, the program has disbursed approximately $17.8 million in funds to help more than 215,000 residents in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region. For more information on WAFF, please visit washingtonareafuelfund.org.

For information about energy assistance, the budget plan, energy efficiency, safety and more, go to washingtongas.com.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., Washington Gas is a wholly-owned subsidiary of WGL Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: WGL). The parent company holds a group of energy-related retail businesses that focus primarily on retail energy-marketing and commercial heating, ventilating and air conditioning services.

Additional information about WGL Holdings is available on its Web site, wglholdings.com. Go to washingtongas.com for more information about Washington Gas.

Contact:

Washington Gas
Ruben Rodriguez, 202-624-6091