Natural Gas Price Takes Hold on Much of State

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Customers of CenterPoint Energy are about to see their natural gas bills rise.

The utility provides natural gas to 424,000 Arkansas customers, making it the largest natural gas provider in Arkansas.  The company is raising bills by 5.6 percent to cover higher costs for gas.  But the company is also rolling in on a previously-approved base rate increase that will bring the overall hike to 13.3 percent for this winter.

A CenterPoint Energy customer using a typical 10,000 cubic feet of natural gas per month will pay $130.77.  That's up $15.40 from $115.37 that CenterPoint customers paid last year.

The company noted the increases in a filing yesterday with the Arkansas Public Service Commission.

The utility says the higher rate for gas costs will be in effect until March 31.

Customers of Arkansas Oklahoma Gas and Arkansas Western will see their rates lower slightly.   Unlike CenterPoint, those companies wisely secured contracts that ensure lower costs for their gas supply.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)