Enstar rates already in effect

Posted: Monday, December 27, 2004

Kenai Peninsula residents will see an increase in their gas bill in January.

Enstar, the natural gas company serving Alaska, announced it will raise residential rates by about 17 percent, which includes consumption for December. Small commercial rates will increase about 16 percent and large commercial rates by 18 percent.

According to an Enstar brochure, the average residential bill will increase by about $12.50.

Rates are determined by two factors. For old contracts, they are indexed against the price of oil. New contracts are indexed against natural gas prices Outside, said Curtis Thayer, spokesperson for Enstar.

Thayer said rates will still be about half of what residents in the Lower 48 pay.

In Alaska, the rates only change once every year giving people more time to plan their budgets, he said.

Enstar is a natural gas transportation company and purchases the gas from a supplier. When the price increases, that cost is rolled over to the customer, Thayer said. It does not change the company's bottom line, he said.

In order to lower rates, a reliable source of gas must be provided, such as a pipeline from the North Slope, he said.

For those who have difficulties with the rate increase, Enstar offers a budget billing plan that figures the average gas usage for 12 months and bills people based on that average. At the end of the year, the difference is made up either by Enstar or the customer depending on how much gas actually was used.

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