Starting today, the cost of natural gas will be higher for the customers of Kansas Public Service.
Today's increase, amounting to about 98 cents a month for the average residential customer, follows a series of fluctuations in the price of natural gas that KPS has passed through to its customers this year, said Ron Jones, the utility's vice president of administration.
Since Feb. 1, average residential customers have seen a net increase in their monthly bills of about $2.92 cents.
However, a big increase requested by Williams Natural Gas of Tulsa, KPS' primary supplier, is pending before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
If approved, the cost of gas would jump another $8.25 a month for the average residential customer, starting Dec. 1, Jones said. That would mean a total net increase, from price fluctuations since Feb. 1, of about $11.17 a month.
TODAY'S RATE increase is the result of the higher wholesale price KPS is paying Williams Natural Gas. KPS passes the rates on to its customers, Jones said.
Beginning today, customers will pay 39.845 cents per 100 cubic feet (ccf) of natural gas a 2.99 percent increase over the previous rate of 38.654 cents per ccf.
This latest increase will amount to about $11.76 a year, or about 98 cents a month for the average customer, who uses about 82 ccf per month, he said.
KPS provides service to about 23,000 customers in Lawrence and Douglas County. Today's increase is one of two made so far this year for local natural gas customers.
ON APRIL 20, the gas price was adjusted upward for an increase in the average residential customer's monthly bill of about 64 cents a month, Jones said. Another price increase on May 18 raised prices another $2.56 a month for the average customer, he said.
Two decreases also were announced.
In July, the company reported a drop in price attributed to decreases in natural gas costs, which amounted to a savings of about 23 cents a month for the average residential customer.
And in September, the price was dropped further, also the result of lower costs, causing a decrease of $1.03 per month for the average customer.
Unlike the other increases this year, the Dec. 1 rate increase being reviewed by FERC deals with operations costs rather than natural gas costs, he said. If FERC approves the increase, Williams would pass it on to KPS, which would pass it on to local customers, Jones said.