For Release: 04/27/2009
Natural Gas Rates Drop for Minnesota Energy Resources Customers
Rosemount, MN – Minnesota Energy Resources customers are paying much less for natural gas in April than they did in March because, at this time of year, MERC depends on a higher percentage of current market-priced gas. Current market prices are at levels unseen since 2002, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency.
Minnesota Energy Resources, a subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group, Inc. (NYSE: TEG), adjusts natural gas prices monthly, subject to approval by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. While Minnesota Energy charges an approved fixed amount per therm for delivery of natural gas, there is no mark up by the company to the cost of the natural gas. However, Minnesota Energy Resources earns an allowed reasonable return on the delivery of natural gas. Based on current market prices, Minnesota Energy expects lower gas prices to benefit customers through the summer and into next winter, unless there are disruptions to the natural gas supply due to severe storms, Gulf of Mexico hurricanes, or other reasons
"The pricing news on the natural gas front is wonderful for customers who endured high prices in recent years," said Ann Carlon, Senior External Affairs Manager. "Just a year ago, natural gas was priced more than double in the marketplace."
There are several reasons for the decline of natural gas prices:
- Although the prices of natural gas are not directly tied to crude oil prices, the natural gas market often mirrors the crude oil market. Crude oil prices are significantly lower - last year traded at a high of over $160, now currently trading in the $50 - $55 range.
- Economy - lack of demand for natural gas for manufacturing is apparent as the economy slowed.
- Natural gas prices for the past winter have not been this low since 2005.
- Natural gas prices for the current summer have not been this low since 2002.
About Minnesota Energy Resources
Minnesota Energy Resources Corporation, a subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group, is a natural gas utility headquartered in Rosemount, MN, serving approximately 207,000 customers throughout Minnesota.
For More Information, Contact:
- Ann Carlon
Senior Ext. Affairs Mgr.
- Media Hotline 800-977-2250