Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
UGI Utilities will spend $4.4 million this year strengthening and extending its gas-line network in Lancaster County, the firm said Thursday.
That sum consists of $1.3 million to replace old gas mains, generally at least 50 years old, and $3.1 million to lengthen lines to serve new customers.
After dropping steadily for the past five years, natural gas prices have finally reached the point where it is no longer profitable for companies to produce the abundant clean-burning fuel.
Natural gas prices for about 90,000
Berks County users started tumbling Dec. 1, 2008, when UGI requested a 16 percent decrease.
But now the low prices, an unusually cold winter and an improving economy have prompted UGI Utilities Gas Division to request a 13.5 percent rate hike. The requested hike comes in two parts: increases of about 7.2 percent June 1 and about 5.9 percent Dec. 1.
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Maybe now you can afford to turn the thermostat up a hair.
UGI Utilities said Thursday that it will cut its residential rates another 3.8 percent, effective Saturday.
The reduction reflects UGI’s lower costs to buy natural gas on the wholesale market.
With the latest cut, the average residential heating customer’s bill will slide to $86.17 per month from $89.55.
UGI has roughly 70,000 customers in
Lancaster County, about 90 percent of which are residential.
UGI Utilities will upgrade more than two miles of underground gas main in Lancaster city starting Monday, April 30.
The $1.3 million project, to be completed in mid-July, will insert high-density plastic pipe inside cast-iron pipe that’s as much as a century old.
Targeted are gas mains resting three to four feet under Orange Street and New Holland Avenue.
“When it was installed, it was state-of-the-art. But it’s served its purpose. All these years later, plastic is the way to go,” UGI’s Mike Fessler said.