Nicor says customers will see 10% reduction in gas cost in February

Nicor Gas said it will reduce its monthly gas cost to 55 cents per therm starting Feb. 1, a 10% reduction from this month.

It is the second consecutive monthly reduction for customers of the Naperville-based company, which serves more than 2.2 million customers, including most of the suburbs and northern Illinois.

Nicor files a gas supply charge with the Illinois Commerce Commission every month, said Jennifer Golz, manager of public relations and media relations.

The current cost for Nicor customers is 61 cents per therm. In December, it was 68 cents per term. But in January 2021, it was 29 cents per therm – less than half the current cost.

Natural gas bills are generally divided into three categories: delivery charges, supply charges (or gas cost) and taxes, according to the Citizens Utility Board.

Delivery charges cover the cost of getting gas to homes, plus a profit for the utility, and are set by the ICC. Supply charges cover the actual cost of gas, vary monthly and are set by the market.

Supply charges constitute more than 50% of a typical residential bill, Golz said.

Natural gas market prices worldwide have been affected by supply and demand, low temperatures and economic inflation. Also, overall demand across the U.S. have increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic as more people work and study from home.

Nicor Gas’ recent cost reduction is due in part to proactive measures such as purchasing natural gas during the summer months, when it is typically less expensive, and storing it for use throughout the year, Golz said.

“This helps keep winter heating costs down and our year-round supply up,” she said. “These purchasing strategies, coupled with our underground storage facilities, ensure that our 2.2 million customers receive competitively priced service and dependable energy and heat.”

The company also provides energy assistance – more than $50 million last year – to its customers through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Percentage of Income Payment Plan and the Sharing and Energy Aide programs. Nicor partners with The Salvation Army through the Shield of Caring program to provide natural gas bill emergency assistance and support for other basic needs, including housing, rent and groceries.

“We’ve all been affected by the pandemic, but our commitment to our customers’ well-being has never wavered. Our focus since before the pandemic has been compassion for our customers who need help and providing extra assistance options,” John O. Hudson III, president and CEO of Nicor Gas, said in a news release.