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LIers could see drop in natural gas bills this winter, utility spokeswoman says

PSEG Long Island crews are seen in 2014.

PSEG Long Island crews are seen in 2014. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

State officials expect virtually no increase in the cost of electricity and a slight uptick in the cost of natural gas as the winter season approaches.

Long Islanders, however, may be in for a break on natural gas costs.

The New York State Public Service Commission on Thursday announced the prices for electric power will remain about the same as they were last year and that any  increase in gas prices may be offset by milder temperatures. The PSC, which regulates utilities, credited the utility companies’ actions as a significant buffer to any market- or weather-driven volatility in prices.

“The utilities serving New York State have adequate sources and supplies of electricity and natural gas to meet current customer demands even under the most severe conditions this winter,” Commission Chairman John B. Rhodes said in a news release. “We will continue to monitor the utilities’ ability to meet customer needs, particularly during extreme cold conditions.”

The agency said a residential customer using 600 kilowatt-hours per month is expected to pay about $39 per month for supply but the actual amount will vary by utility, and “the average residential customer using 720 therms of natural gas can expect to pay about $800 in total November through March.”

Those figures are projected to be higher on Long Island, where the cost of living is higher than the statewide average.

Elizabeth Flagler, a spokeswoman for PSEG Long Island, said the average customer uses 755 kilowatt-hours each month, and that the utility estimates the cost for supply to be approximately $73 per month. She expects the prices to remain flat.

"PSEG Long Island is committed to providing reliable service year-round and particularly during extreme temperatures," she said. "We continue to be at the forefront of large scale renewable energy resource development to provide customers with cleaner and more environmentally friendly energy."

Wendy Ladd, a spokeswoman for National Grid, which supplies natural gas on Long Island, said the region should pay less this year than last year.

“Based on typical usage of 720 therms for a five-month heating season (November to March), National Grid residential gas customers are forecasted to pay about $882 this winter heating season, or about a decrease of $8 (-.9%) less than last year,” she said in an email.

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