Residential winter natural gas rates to fall almost 52% in Fort Smith metro

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 688 views 

AOG natural gas customers in the Fort Smith area will see winter rates fall 51.8%, with all natural gas customers of Summit – AOG’s parent company – in Arkansas receiving a 34.8% decrease in winter rates.

Centennial, Colo.-based Summit has around 450,000 utility customers in Arkansas, including a little more than 40,000 in the Fort Smith metro.

Natural gas rates spiked in the winter 2022 period to $1.2239 per hundred cubic feet (ccf) from $0.9063 per ccf in winter 2021 and well above the $0.4405 per ccf in 2020. The 2023 winter rate in Arkansas will dip to $0.7977 per ccf. While down from the 2022 winter rate, the 2023 rate will still be 81.1% more than the 2020 winter rate.

AOG residential customers will see rates decline 51.8% from winter 2022 to $0.5296 per ccf in the upcoming winter. The new rate for Oklahoma residential customers is $0.4383 per ccf, down 38.5% from winter 2022.

The new rates begin Nov. 1.

“Our team is dedicated to obtaining the lowest natural gas prices for our customers, and we are grateful customers will see lower bills this winter than they saw last year,” Fred Kirkwood, chief customer experience officer for Summit, said in a statement. “We encourage customers who face challenges paying their bills to call our customer service department for details on payment and billing options and information on payment assistance programs that can help you and your family be safe and warm this winter.”

Utilities in Arkansas were allowed to raise rates in 2022 to recover costs related to Winter Storm Uri that hit Arkansas and many parts of the country in February 2021. The Arkansas Public Service Commission is allowing Summit to recover costs through increased customer charges until 2026.

The Henry Hub spot price for natural gas in December 2020 was $2.59 per million Btu, just below the $2.98 in October 2023 – the latest data available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The average price for natural gas delivered to Arkansas customers was $21.16 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) in August 2020, above the $19.85 per Mcf in August 2023, the most recent EIA data available.

Summit owns natural gas distribution subsidiaries that operate in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas.