Lake area natural gas customers will be seeing slightly higher bills this winter.

Lake area natural gas customers will be seeing slightly higher bills this winter.

Effective Nov. 1, customers in the Lake of the Ozarks service area of Summit Natural Gas of Missouri, Inc. will see a rate increase due to changes in the wholesale cost of natural gas.

An increase in the wholesale cost for natural gas — the company's purchased gas adjustment rate — is behind the rate increase.

Residential customers in the Southern and Lake of the Ozarks Systems — which includes parts of Morgan and Camden counties — currently pay approximately $0.42 per Ccf (per hundred cubic feet ) of natural gas as part of the overall bill. The commodity price of the fuel is going up to $0.55 per Ccf.

The typical household uses about 600 Ccf.

The wholesale cost of natural gas is around 55-60 percent of a customer's bill, according to the PSC. This part of the billing is not regulated by the PSC, but the wholesale cost must be paid by the consumer without profit by the local natural gas company. The wellhead cost of natural gas is unregulated and is primarily driven by supply, demand and the weather.

The PSC does conduct an annual regulatory review to ensure that regulated natural gas companies make prudent decisions in securing natural gas supplies for their customers.

In Summit's northern system, the wholesale cost is rising from $0.40 per Ccf to $0.44.

In comparison, another natural gas utility in Missouri, Laclede Gas Company-Missouri Gas Energy, currently has a commodity rate of $0.57 per Ccf. That dropped by one cent to $0.56 on Nov. 1.

Effective Nov. 1, 2013, Summit Natural Gas Customers will see a change in their gas rate. Due to estimated changes in the wholesale cost of natural gas, customers at the Lake of the Ozarks will see the Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA) rate on their bill increase from $0.42 per Ccf to $0.55 per Ccf.

The Purchased Gas Adjustment rate is approximately 55%-60% of the total cost of natural gas from wholesale suppliers. This rate is driven by supply, demand and weather and is not regulated by the Missouri Public Service Commission.

This increase was not anticipated by Summit Natural Gas and a profit will not be collected from the PGA rate, according to Annica Russo, Public Relations Specialist for Summit Natural Gas.

Currently, Summit Natural Gas serves over 3,600 customers in the lake area.