Look for lower natural gas bills in the fall

Hundreds of thousands of Alabamians will see a reduction in natural gas bills just in time for the winter heating season. Customers of Birmingham-based Alabama Gas Company will start to see the lower rates starting October 1st through March 31st. {}The Alabama Public Service Commission voted unanimously Tuesday for Alagasco to refund $16.5 million to its customers through lower rates. The reduction comes after Alabama Gas had a return on common equity that exceeds the amount allowed by the PSC's rate plan. When that happens, the gas company has to lower rates to get its return back inside the proper range. The PSC has not yet determined how much the reduction will mean for the average household. Alagasco is the state's largest natural gas distributor, serving 423,000 customers in Alabama.