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Jennifer O’Shea, 202-824-7023
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 More American Utility Customers Able to Pay Bills in Fall 2010   

AGA Survey Reveals 2 percent Drop in Indebted Energy Consumers, Yet Many Still Face Challenges

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Gas Association (AGA) today announced the results of its Utility Customer Arrearage and Disconnect Survey for fall 2010. The results show that the number of customers unable to pay their utility bills on time decreased by more than 2 percent and almost 3 percent fewer customers had to be disconnected from their utility service compared with last year.

“It is critical for all Americans to be able to afford their utility bills especially as temperatures drop this winter,” said Dave Parker, president and CEO of AGA. “Nationally, the survey represents a positive trend, and while we are encouraged by the fact that more customers are able to pay their bills, there are still too many who are having trouble.”

According to the survey, almost 14 percent of utility customers of surveyed utilities are at least 30 days late in paying their bills and more than 4 percent are disconnected from utility service due to the inability to pay these bills.

“Our goal is to ensure that folks don’t have to decide between heat and other critical needs, and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is one of the key ways we are able to do so,” said Parker “LIHEAP funding is integral to helping individuals and families meet their needs this winter, which is why we consistently advocate for full funding of this important program.”

The survey sample, made up of 52 million utility customers, also shows that the total dollar amount of customer arrearages, unpaid bills that are at least 30 days late, fell more than 6 percent. In addition, the total dollar amount of past due bills of disconnected customers fell 9 percent. To access the full report and to see the regional distribution of results, click here.

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The American Gas Association, founded in 1918, represents more than 200 local energy companies that deliver clean natural gas throughout the United States. There are more than 71 million residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the U.S., of which 94 percent — over 68 million customers — receive their gas from AGA members. Today, natural gas meets almost one-fourth of the United States' energy needs.

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