A recent survey by the American Gas Association (AGA) of its utility members shows more customers are able to stay current on their bills and fewer customers had to be disconnected from utility service compared to last year. Nationally, the sample showed:
- the number of customers in arrears fell slightly more than two percent
- the total dollar amount of customer arrearages fell more than six percent
- the number of customers disconnected fell almost three percent
- the total dollar amount of past due bills of disconnected customers fell almost nine percent
However, AGA reported many customers are still having trouble paying their utility bills. Almost 14 percent of utility customers of surveyed utilities are at least 30 days late in paying their bills and four percent are disconnected from utility service due to the inability to pay these bills.
AGA’s survey sample represents 52 million utility customers, 40 million of which are natural gas customers (the others are electric customers from combination gas and electric utilities), representing 61 percent of all U.S. gas utility customers.
The annual Cold Weather Survey, released December 17 by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, showed that about 17,294 of the state’s households will enter the winter season without heat-related utility service compared to 17,037 this time last year.
The survey also detailed the number of homes using potentially unsafe heating sources due to the lack of a central heating system; an additional 2,363 residences were using these as of mid-December, compared to 3,992 at the same time in 2009.
The 2010 survey results also show that as of December 15:
- 4,353 residential households were without electric service; 13,055 residences where service was terminated now appear to be vacant; and 146 households are heating with potentially unsafe heating sources. The total electric residences without safe heating are 4,499.
- 12,941 residential households that heat with natural gas are without service; 6,268 residences where service was terminated now appear to be vacant; and 2,217 households are heating with potentially unsafe heating sources. The total natural gas residences without safe heating are 15,158.
- PGW reported that 8,416 households that heat with natural gas are without service — the highest number of all utilities. A total of 10,690 or 54 percent of the total accounts that have no service live in the Philadelphia area.
Source: AGA, PA PUC