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Keeping natural gas rates competitive for customers

For immediate release
March 2, 2016

Heritage Gas takes steps to keep natural gas rates competitive for customers

DARTMOUTH, NS – In a filing submitted today to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB), Heritage Gas is asking for a reduction in the base energy charge for one of its largest customer groups.

Heritage Gas is seeking to lower the rate for rate class (RC) 1 commercial customers whose natural gas consumption ranges from 500 gigajoules a year to 4,999 gigajoules a year. If approved by the NSUARB, the rate for RC1 customers would drop to $3.10 per gigajoule, down from the current rate of $8.685 per gigajoule. Base energy charges will remain the same for all other customer classes.

Market factors have driven a strong decline in the price of propane and furnace oil making natural gas less competitive for Heritage Gas’ RC1 customers. By lowering rates for these customers, Heritage Gas will be able to maintain the ongoing competitiveness of natural gas for all consumers in Nova Scotia and continue to make natural gas a fuel of choice for existing and new customers.

“Every class of customer will benefit from this application as we take steps to keep customers from switching and provide certainty for Heritage Gas to keep rates competitive for all our customers,” said Chris Smith, President of Heritage Gas. “Our small- and medium-sized natural gas customers have been the most affected with the dramatic drop in the price of oil and propane. We appreciate their business and want to show that natural gas can remain competitive with alternate fuels.”

Close to 1,200 small and medium-sized businesses would receive a break of more than 60 per cent on their direct energy charge from this proposal. Annual direct charge savings would range from $2,700 a year at the lower end of customers in this category to more than $27,000 a year at the higher end, based on individual customer natural gas use. RC1 commercial customers that would receive the savings outlined in this proposal to the regulator represent Heritage Gas’ largest single source of customer revenue.

In addition to the rate application, Heritage Gas continues to act to reduce the price of natural gas and secure competitive pricing for all of its customers. The company is implementing short-, medium- and long-term strategies to reduce the cost of natural gas in Nova Scotia.

“Heritage Gas has put in place gas purchasing practices that we expect will deliver additional savings to all our customers later this year,” added Smith. “It is expected that new pipeline infrastructure, including storage, in the region will also lower the cost of gas over the next several years.”

The company is also taking steps to reduce operating costs and capital expenditures to support the rate reduction by lowering the total cost to distribute natural gas to its customers. Smith noted that, “Heritage Gas has invested $275 million over the last 12 years to bring natural gas service to thousands of Nova Scotians and we’re continuing to invest to support further growth over the long term.”

Media Contact:

Alice McCarron