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PUBLIC SERVICE CO. OF COLORADO PREPARES FOR HIGHER NATURAL GAS PRICES

 DENVER, Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Higher natural gas prices from suppliers will hit Public Service Co. of Colorado (NYSE: PSR) customers throughout the state beginning this November.
 For residential customers, the estimated increase is 9 percent per year. This represents a $4.34 increase in the typical residential customer's monthly bill. For commercial users of natural gas, the increase will be approximately 11 percent per year. This increase is separate from Public Service Co.'s rate case filing request of a $33.7 million annual increase for gas services.
 Natural gas price increases can be attributed to the continued deregulation of the industry by the federal government, which has led to cost shifts in the marketplace. The nation also is experiencing the end of a natural gas surplus that kept prices artificially low in the mid-1980s and early-1990s.
 In addition, Public Service Co.'s largest supplier of natural gas -- Colorado Interstate Gas Co. -- filed an increase with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), effective Oct. 1.
 "During the 1970s, the natural gas business was highly regulated, as was the price of gas, and it led to great distortions in both cost and availability," said Fred Stoffel, general manager of supply and delivery, natural gas operations at Public Service Co.
 "What we have today is the opposite. The gas industry is responding to its new free-market environment, and the deregulation will help to keep both price and supply balanced, and eliminate artificial highs and lows for both suppliers and consumers," Stoffel said.
 Public Service Co. also will be taking on new responsibilities, due to the FERC's 636 ruling, which requires local distribution companies to manage the transportation of natural gas from pipeline sources to their own distribution systems. This has created new costs for Public Service Co., which will include contract adjustments with suppliers and the restructuring of services.
 While the price of natural gas is increasing for consumers, it remains one of the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly energy resources. Public Service Co. charges for natural gas service for residential customers are among the lowest in the country -- ranking 41st out of 43 major metropolitan areas.
 Customers who use natural gas to heat their homes or have natural gas appliances are encouraged to take advantage of Public Service Co.'s "Budget Billing" program and to make their home more energy-efficient.
 Public Service Co. publishes a number of brochures to provide customers with more information on energy efficiency. "Your Home Energy Guide to Weatherization," "Your Energy Guide to Heating and Cooling," and "60 Ways to Cut Home Energy Costs & Consumption" are available free through Public Service Co. by calling 303-571-2734 in Denver or 800-622-7726 outside the Denver area.
 -0- 9/30/93
 /CONTACT: Media Relations, 303-294-8900/
 (PSR)


CO: Public Service Co. of Colorado ST: Colorado IN: UTI SU:

MC -- DV007 -- 7522 09/30/93 17:32 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 30, 1993
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