Natural gas prices going up across the state

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COLUMBIA - Ameren Missouri customers will start seeing a change in their natural gas bills Tuesday.

Customers in all of the provider's service areas, except Rolla, will see a natural gas rate increase of $0.04 per hundred cubic feet of natural gas. Customers in Rolla, Salem and Owensville will see an increase of $0.14 per Ccf.

Based on reports from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average residential consumer in Missouri used roughly 697 Ccf of natural gas in 2015. With the price increase, that would mean an average increase of nearly $28 per year per consumer.

How do customers feel about the rate increase?

"Not very good," said Columbia resident and Ameren Missouri customer Bill Folk, who heats his house partly with natural gas and partly with electricity.

The price change is intended to reflect changes in the cost of natural gas.

"The [Purchased Gas Adjustment] reflects the wholesale cost of natural gas, the cost of transporting gas to the company’s system plus an adjustment to compensate for under- or over-collection of actual costs in previous periods," said James Massmann, Ameren Missouri's director of natural gas, in a statement.

The price increase comes exactly seven months after Ameren Missouri decreased prices by $0.03 per Ccf.

"We continue to try to conserve natural gas," Folk said. "I want to go as much as possible away from fossil fuels, so we've always been working to try to conserve on electricity and gas and make the best use of it that we can."

Ameren Missouri serves approximately 128,400 natural gas customers, according to the news release.