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HEARTENING NEWS FOR USERS OF NATURAL GAS - COST IS DOWN

SHARE HEARTENING NEWS FOR USERS OF NATURAL GAS - COST IS DOWN

Winter is not far off and that can only mean residential natural gas consumption will begin moving up.

But take heart, says Louise Jacobsen, spokeswoman for Mountain Fuel Supply Co. Natural gas is one of the few commodities that has actually gone down in price over the past 10 years.Jacobsen said the annual bill for the typical residential customer, who uses 115 decatherms of gas per year, is $496.35, down 14 percent from $567.26 in 1985.

But it gets better, says Jacobsen. When those numbers are adjusted for inflation, the 1985 bill, in today's dollars, would be $803.97. That means, she says, that Mountain Fuel customers are paying 38 percent less today for natural gas than they were 10 years ago.

Jacobsen cites efficiency and productivity improvements, lower prices that Mountain Fuel must pay for gas to deliver to customers, and increases in the production of lower-cost gas reserves owned by the utility, for holding prices down.