Area's Largest Natural Gas Users to Receive Price ReductionThe Salem City Council is giving a break on natural gas prices to four of the systems largest users. The vote came after Geff Purcell of Americana indicated the city's current high prices was preventing the company from completing a needed expansion that would result in the hiring of five additional people. While Purcell was appreciative of City Manager Bill Gruen's work to lower the rates, he told the council he would rather have the city allow him to purchase natural gas on the open market like Ameren gas customers are allowed to do. Gruen says their current contract with the company that manages their gas purchases will not allow for what Purcell is proposing. He says the savings the four large users will receive are coming from money that was going into a surplus fund that is adequately funded.
"We can't do anything that would have a negative impact on other payers. "Gruen said, "We need to charge everyone the same, or less."
Gruen noted the rate reduction was temporary and could be changed in the future. While the rates the city is charging its larger users are higher than Ameren, he reports the rates charged to residential customers are comparable.
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