Natural gas rates decreasing for Ameren Missouri customers

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COLUMBIA - Due to estimated changes in the wholesale cost of natural gas, Ameren Missouri natural gas customers will see natural gas rates decrease beginning November 1, 2014.

Ameren Missouri residential customers in areas such as Columbia, Jefferson City, Mexico, Wentzville, Cape Girardeau and Marble Hill will see natural gas rates decrease by approximately $0.05 per hundred cubic feet of natural gas. Residential customers in Rolla, Salem and Owensville will see natural gas rates decrease by approximately $0.07 per hundred cubic feet.

"It's fair to say that there will be a 7 percent overall decrease in prices for our customer base," said Director of Missouri Gas Operations for Ameren Mike Holman. 

Holman said it's hard to estimate the amount of natural gas the average consumer uses per month. 

Residents in the Rolla area will see more of a decrease in natural gas prices because Ameren purchases their product through a separate pipeline that is higher priced than the pipeline for other cities in Missouri.

"Because of that, the percentage decrease will also be higher [in the Rolla area]," said Holman. 

The lower prices come from an increase in the supply of natural gas, due to an increase in the demand following last year's harsh winter. The higher demand led Ameren to open up new sites, which now gives it access to more natural gas.

"It's really just about economic supply and demand," Holman said. "There's simply more natural gas available to us now."

Homeowner and owner of the Heidelberg restaurant Richard Walls said he paid almost $1,000 on 908 cubic feet of natural gas for his restaurant last month. With the decrease in rates, he can now save about $45 of that.

"It'll have a greater impact on the business just because we go through so much more natural gas, but it also helps as a homeowner just to pay the bills and take care of things," Walls said. "I think anything makes an impact, especially savings always help." 

The rate decrease will affect approximately 126,800 natural gas customers in Missouri.