Columbia Gas rates come down

Published 10:56 pm Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Columbia Gas of Virginia customers will be getting a small break on their natural gas bills this winter, the company announced Tuesday.

“They’re going to be paying about 2.5 percent less than they did last winter,” said Bob Innes, the director of communications and community relations.

The break results from an 8.5-percent decrease in the cost of natural gas. By law, utilities like Columbia are required to pass on the cost of energy on a dollar-for-dollar basis, with no markup. The average total monthly bill will go from $172.32 to $157.66, based on a 100 cubic-foot monthly winter usage.

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“I think that’s good news, when they look at managing their energy costs as they go forward this winter,” Innes said. “In the economic situation the country is in, every little bit helps.”

The gas cost decrease will cover the months of December, January and February, and it affects about 6,500 homes and businesses in Suffolk, Innes said.

Using energy wisely and doing some simple weatherizing can help customers save even more, he said. Innes gave several suggestions of simple things customers can do to decrease their home heating bills:

4Make sure the outlet for the warm air is not blocked by drapes or a piece of furniture.

4Turn down the thermostat, especially when you’re not home.

4Keep drapes open while the sun is shining into your home. Close them at night.

Columbia customers are reminded that the enrollment period for Home Energy Assistance ends Dec. 1. Low-income families who are having trouble paying their heating bills should call 1-800-272-2714 for more details.

For more information on steps to manage energy costs, visit