I read this article in the July 11 edition of the Times-Tribune and thought I would share it. Here it is:
Natural gas prices have declined steadily over the last few years because of the discovery of huge new domestic sources, including the Marcellus Shale.
Consumers could save even more if the state Public Utility Commission would force gas utilities to account for the vast amounts of gas that they lose between the well and the consumer.
According to a February report by the PUC, Pennsylvania consumers pay up to $131 million a year for gas that never reaches their furnaces, stoves or industrial process because it escapes from delivery systems. Utilities reported losing amounts from zero to 11.9 percent of their volume, second nationally to California. Pennsylvania's market is the ninth largest nationwide.
Consumers pay for the lost gas through the "supply charge" portion of their gas bills.
Because consumers pay regardless of whether they receive the gas, there is little incentive for utilities to "find' the lost gas.
According to the PUC, each utility has its own formula for calculating the amount of lost gas. The PUC should standardize a formula and require utilities to tell consumers specifically how much lost gas they are paying for each month. To reduce that amount, thus conserving fuel and giving customers more of what they are paying for, rate increases should be tied to system improvements.