AmerenUE gas prices drop 25 percent

Friday, March 27, 2009

AmerenUE natural gas customers will begin enjoying a 25 percent rate cut next week because fuel prices fell further and faster than expected over the winter.

Beginning Wednesday, the 125,000 Missourians who purchase their gas from Ameren -- including residents of Cape Girardeau and portions of adjacent counties -- will see the gas rate drop from 99 cents per 100 cubic feet to 75 cents per 100 cubic feet. The reduction is due to the regular comparison of wholesale market prices with the price being charged to consumers.

The Missouri Public Service Commission requires natural gas utilities to report their costs at least every six months. Because natural gas utilities are not allowed to profit from fluctuations in the gas price, when the actual price falls below estimates the difference is returned to customers in the form of lowered rates.

The price of natural gas has fallen 59 percent since March 2008 and 13 percent since February. According to the most recent report of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Energy Center, wholesale gas prices are lower than at any time since January 2003.

The depressed price mirrors that of other fuels and the economy in general, said Kerry Cordray of the energy center.

"Along with the curve of the economy, so has gone energy prices," Cordray said. "If we get the recover that everybody wishes for it is not unlikely that there will be some recovery of energy prices to go along."

For more information, check back at semissourian.com or read Saturday's Southeast Missourian.

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