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Paynesville Press - January 2, 2002

Natural gas prices are lower

Reliant Energy Minnegasco announced last week that the January billing rate for natural gas is $0.54 per therm for residential service - down 57 percent from January 2001, when the natural gas rate hit a record high of $1.27 per therm.

The monthly rate applies only to natural gas used in January by Minnegasco residential customers. Most customers will receive bills over the next few weeks that include charges for gas used in a portion of December (when the billing rate was $0.51) and for gas used in a portion of January.

Rates are lower because wholesale natural gas prices have declined significantly since last season - the result of reduced demand nationally and an improved supply situation.

November 2001 was the warmest on record and impacted consumption and storage levels throughout the country. January is typically the largest consumption month for residential customers, according to Minnegasco.

Headquartered in Minneapolis, Reliant Energy Minnegasco is Minnesota's largest natural gas distribution company, serving approximately 700,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in over 240 communities.

Minnegasco also has a nonexclusive franchise to supply natural gas within the city of Paynesville, which the city council renewed last week with a new 15-year contract.

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