By JOSH NICHOLS
Daily Press writer
Greeley Gas Company announced this week that it plans to lower natural gas prices this winter.
The company filed with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission requesting a 44.92 percent decrease in natural gas commodity rates for customers in the Craig area.
If accepted, the decrease will go into effect Nov. 1, said Karen Wilkes, Greeley Gas manager of public affairs.
"This is really exciting news for our consumers," she said.
For example, Wilkes said consumers who currently pay $83.60 per month would pay something closer to $45.76, after the decrease.
The decrease will be a result of increased natural gas storage capacity, additional production and milder weather last summer, Wilkes said.
The predicted decrease in gas prices comes one year after prices sky rocketed last winter.
Consumers took it in the pocketbooks last year because of cold temperatures resulting in a high demand for gas.
The supply wasn't there because of a hotter than average summer during which people ran their air conditioners more, Wilkes said.
Gas prices were driven up during the winter as a result.
Coming off of a mild summer, costs are more stable, and supplies better stocked.
Greeley Gas hopes to avoid price hikes this winter by purchasing 50 percent of its winter season supply at a fixed rate.
"We're confident we can supply gas at a stable price this winter," Wilkes said. "Prices won't go to the extent they did last year."
Gary Schlessman, President of Greeley Gas Company, said that Greeley Gas hopes to regain its customers trust this year.
The goal of Greeley Gas is to purchase gas at the best prices available, he said. Although this was hard for some customers to believe last year when gas bills were stretching the family budget.
"This points to welcome relief from last year's record high gas prices for our customers," he said "The 2000-2001 heating season was a painful experience for all of us. No one is more excited about announcing this decrease than I am."
Barbara Fernandez, spokesperson for the public utilities commission, said they have been pleased with companies coming in to request decreases and that it is on the agenda for Oct. 31.
Prices are based on the cost of the commodity, she said, and now that prices are going down, adjustments are going down.