Columbia Gas of Virginia has lowered the cost that is passed on to its customers, and is continuing a program to help customers further reduce their bills.
The natural gas price decrease will take the average monthly bill to $39.36, compared to $40.76 one year ago.
Columbia Gas spokesman Bob Innes said the company and its customers are benefiting from recent reductions in natural gas prices. “There’s more stability to it, which is good. It’s more predictable,” he said. “We’re able to pass that along to our customers.”
State law requires the company to pass to customers the exact costs of purchasing the natural gas the customers use, without markup or discount.
Columbia Gas adjusts the natural gas costs on its bills four times each year. The next change will come in November as the heating season begins, Innes said.
In April, Columbia Gas began a program called WarmWise to help its customers reduce the amount of natural gas they use.
The program lets customers take a survey on the company’s website, columbiagasva.com, about their energy use. Customers then receive low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators, which help cut hot water use, for free.
WarmWise also will give rebates to help Columbia Gas customers purchase items that help reduce their energy use. Rebates include $300 for a natural gas-powered tankless water heater or $1 per square foot of high-efficiency windows, according to the company’s website.
Innes said 700 customers have taken the online energy survey. Columbia Gas has given customers 300 rebate checks worth a total of $164,000. It has taken some time for the WarmWise program to catch on, but more people might pay attention as cold weather approaches.
“We hope that … as people come back after the summer months and they’re thinking about heat, they might look at our program,” Innes said.
Saving energy helps customers and Columbia Gas, he said. “We believe that if a customer can reduce their use, it’s good for them and … we don’t have to buy that amount of gas for them. It can help to keep our natural resources longer.”