Chambersburg notches record natural gas sales

Chambersburg notches record natural gas sales

Given an unusually cold winter, the Borough of Chambersburg announced Monday it had record sales of natural gas for February.

At 239,985 decatherms, the borough said last month was the third highest sales month ever.

“Obviously, the extreme cold weather increased consumption of electricity and natural gas,” said Borough Manager Jeffrey Stonehill. “However, the borough’s electric and natural gas rates are some of the lowest in Pennsylvania, so that really helps,” he added.

The bitter cold temperatures are not common. According to Greg Keefer’s Hagerstown 1E Weather Station, February was the fourth coldest on record with an average temperature of 23.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

Columbia Gas, a major energy distribution company in the state, reported to have delivered 18 percent more gas last month than usual for February.

“It’s due to the colder temperatures,” said company spokesman Russell Bedell. “In fact, February 2015 was 36 percent colder than normal according to our readings.”

Ray Dotter, a spokesman for PJM Interconnection, an organization that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in 13 states including Pennsylvania, said the organization also noticed a spike in consumption during the month of February when consumers in their region set a new winter time record on Feb. 20, using 143,8000 megawatts of electricity. “The morning of that Friday broke the record set in Jan. 2014 during the polar vortex,” he said.

According to the Borough of Chambersburg, residents who use gas for heating purposes can expect to pay about $112 for their gas consumption, despite the record breaking usage. The borough also said natural gas customers are paying the lowest price per unit of gas since June 2000.

“It has been 15 years since our prices for gas were this low,” said Superintendent John Leary, who handles purchasing of wholesale gas contracts on behalf of the Borough.

For residents who use electricity for their heating needs, the borough is still offering interest free loans for furnaces and water heaters. Since 2011, when the program launched, 270 homes have participated, amounting to almost $1.2 million in loans.

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