CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Columbia Gas of Virginia announced Thursday that natural gas residential customers could expect to see a decline in their winter heating bills this season compared to last year. 

Based on current market projections and assuming normal winter weather, the natural gas commodity portion of a customer’s bill, which is a significant component of natural gas bills, is estimated to be around 50 percent lower in contrast to the same period in 2022.

“With the costs of many everyday items continuing to rise, we know that every bit of savings can make a difference,” said Jennifer Montague, Columbia Gas of Virginia president and chief operating officer. “The decrease in the cost of the natural gas comes as good news as we head into the winter months, when customers are typically using more to heat their homes.”

There are several factors contributing to the anticipated decrease in the cost of natural gas this winter season. Current market prices are lower than last year due to increased production levels, lower exports due to softening European demand, and filling storage at substantially lower prices than in previous years.

“Even with the estimated decrease in market prices for natural gas, we know there are times when it may be difficult for some customers to pay their utility bills,” said Montague. “We urge any customer, regardless of their situation, to contact us to explore the wide array of programs and options that can be utilized to keep customers connected.”