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Washington Gas Expects Winter Bills to Increase This Winter and Encourages Customers to Prepare for Heating Season

Category:

Monday, September 22, 2008 4:30 pm EDT

Dateline:

WASHINGTON

Public Company Information:

NYSE:
WGL

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Washington Gas announced today that its customers should prepare for a 10 to 20 percent increase in heating bills over last winters bills. In 2008, the prices of all forms of energy have increased and natural gas is no exception. Natural gas remains a plentiful, efficient and clean energy resource and Washington Gas is committed to providing safe and reliable natural gas service at a reasonable cost.

What is Washington Gas doing to help customers?

Throughout the year, the company takes a number of steps to help stabilize customers natural gas bills and prepare for the winter season.

We began our planning to meet customers winter needs well in advance of the heating season, said Adrian Chapman, vice president of operations, regulatory affairs and energy acquisition at Washington Gas. A large portion of natural gas supply was purchased this summer and stored for the winter at prices that were locked in. Another significant portion of supply was purchased earlier in the year at rates that were capped. Both approaches will assist in protecting customers against seasonal price increases when the weather gets extremely cold and demand increases, Chapman explained.

Gas supply costs -- the amount Washington Gas pays to acquire natural gas -- make up about two-thirds of the average customers heating bill. This price appears on the customers 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 customers bill consists of distribution costs, taxes or other fees levied by state and local governments.

The Washington Gas Budget Plan allows eligible customers to spread the cost of winter heating over the entire year. This plan 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.

What can customers do to help keep natural gas bills lower?

Throughout the year, Washington Gas consistently recommends to customers a variety of ways to practice 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.

Washington Gas also reminds customers to explore the Customer Choice program, 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.

A number of energy assistance programs are available in the area, including the Washington Area Fuel Fund (WAFF) 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 call 1-888-318-WAFF.

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
News Media:
Eric Grant, 202-624-6091