Natural gas bills should be dropping

Kentucky residents will soon be paying less for natural gas.

The state Public Service Commission said Tuesday that the decrease in the price utilities are paying would save consumers an average of $11 a month.

That cost is passed on to customers directly (utilities don't earn a profit on it), and utilities adjust it, usually quarterly, based on their costs.

This month, the average cost for 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas is $10.60, down from $11.70 in November. The price is still above where it was a year ago, though, when it was $9.63.

A residential customer uses 10,000 cubic feet of natural gas on average in a month.

The PSC also said that early reports indicate that prices will decrease further in March for utilities that file their so-called gas cost adjustments during that month.

Prices are falling as companies begin to use gas that was purchased more recently than gas that was put into storage the middle of last year, when prices were higher, the PSC said.

About half of the natural gas used during winter is stored in the summer, the PSC said.

Overall, the wholesale cost of natural gas is about 75 percent of a typical customer's winter bill, the PSC said.

About 44 percent of Kentucky residents heat their homes using natural gas.