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Natural gas prices continue decline amid Coronavirus concerns

For the fifth consecutive month, most natural gas utilities have lowered their prices from the previous month as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts the market. All prices  are lower than last May. 

The price per therm you will pay for natural gas in May, also known as the Purchased Gas Adjustment, or PGA, is shown in the chart below. It includes PGAs from this month, last month and May 2019. Hover your mouse over the graphic to show prices.

Illinois Gas has the lowest rate for the month of May8.2 cents per therm, which is easily one of the lowest rates we’ve seen in our decades monitoring Illinois’ market. Liberty Utilities had the biggest decline in price, dropping by more than a nickel to 25.82 cents per therm.

Ameren Illinois’ rate fell about a penny to 29.93 cents per therm, and North Shore Gas came down just a fraction of a cent, to 26.79 cents per therm. Nicor has maintained 26 cents per therm for 5 months.

Two utilities raised their rates: Peoples Gas went up by .01 cents to 17.89 and Consumers Gas by about 3 cents, to 30.28 cents.

Much like the rest of the economy, the natural gas market is unsteady. The pandemic’s school and business closures “are sufficient to wipe out a significant slice of demand for gas,” according to a report by EBW Analytics Group. 

The report predicts the declining demand will continue into late spring and early summer as Coronavirus shelter-in-place orders are extended.

As always, remember: Utility service territories are geographic, so you cannot switch to another utility. Your utility is determined by where you live. Nicor, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas customers can switch to alternative suppliers, but that market is plagued by bad deals. Your regulated utility price listed in this article is probably your cheapest option.

Click to view previous monthly analyses: April 2020, March 2020, February 2020, January 2020, December 2019