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Predictions Point to Severe Weather this Winter - Nicor Gas Encourages Customers to Prepare
Programs are available to help customers manage their heating costs

NAPERVILLE, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The 2011-2012 winter heating season (October - March) has officially started. As the winterís coldest temperatures may be right around the corner, Nicor Gas wants its customers to know that there are billing and financial aid programs available to help manage natural gas bills. There are many programs, either through Nicor Gas or government agencies, and tools for customers to ease the budget burden that colder temperatures and increased heating demand can cause.

According to AccuWeather.com, their long-range experts agree that the Midwest and Great Lakes region will be dealt the worst of winter this year. Chicago, which endured a monster blizzard last winter, could be one of the hardest-hit cities in terms of both snow and cold in the winter ahead.

The American Gas Association (AGA) announced yesterday that external factors, particularly severe weather, could affect the demand for, and the price of, natural gas and thus winter bills. While Nicor Gas customersí October gas supply charge (GSC) is $.51 per therm and natural gas costs have remained fairly consistent over the last six months, it is important for customers to remember that natural gas prices are volatile and can vary unexpectedly throughout the winter season.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is reporting today that national natural gas prices will increase by 3% while Midwest prices are expected to remain the same as last year. Because natural gas prices can be very volatile and could increase as a result of higher demands due to colder weather, Nicor Gas is encouraging all its customers to be prepared and take advantage of the various programs and services available to help mitigate their energy costs.

Due to the possible volatility in price, Nicor Gas believes in the importance of providing customers with information and programs to help with managing their gas costs.

Below are some bill management and financial assistance options helping a variety of customers:

Nicor Gas Budget Plan

The Nicor Gas Budget Plan provides a convenient way for customers to pay their natural gas bill every month as well as a great payment option for customers who like to plan ahead. Payments are spread out over a 12-month period and periodically adjusted to correct for future gas prices and expected usage. Customers interested in signing up for the Budget Plan can call 1-888-Nicor4U (642-6748) or visit the company website at www.nicorgas.com.

Deferred Payment Arrangement (DPA)

Customers who have fallen behind on their bills should contact Nicor Gas immediately. A deferred payment arrangement allows customers the ability to catch up on their past-due amounts over a specified period of time spreading the cost of payments across future bills. Contacting Nicor Gas early and establishing a DPA can prevent falling so far behind on payments that disconnection of service becomes unavoidable.

Reconnect Program

The Reconnect Program allows qualified disconnected residential customers to reconnect their service by paying one third of their past due balance with installments of the remaining balance over the following four months plus current monthís usage. Eligible customers will receive a letter encouraging them to apply. Recipients may enroll in the Reconnect Program by calling 1-800-310-0566. Without the Reconnect Program, customers who have been disconnected for non-payment are required to pay their outstanding bill in full before service can be restored.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

LIHEAP is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the State of Illinois and is administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. To qualify, household monthly income cannot exceed 150 percent of the federally established poverty level. For more information or to apply for assistance, go to www.liheapillinois.com, or call the toll-free LIHEAP information line at 1-877-411-9276.

Energy Efficiency Program

Nicor Gasí Energy Efficiency Program is open to all customers and offers rebates, ideas, and tools to help residential and business customers use energy wisely. Rebates for high efficiency furnaces, boilers, and water heaters range from $200-$7,500 plus you may be eligible for federal tax incentives. This is the time to begin implementing money saving measures and install energy efficient home equipment before the colder temperatures of winter quickly arrive. Customers can get detailed information on the program from the website, www.nicorgasrebates.com.

Using Energy Wisely

Customers can access an entire host of online tips and tools at www.nicorgas.com, by clicking on Managing Your Gas Costs, which can help guide customers on how to use energy wisely.

For more information on Nicor Gas programs or government assistance, visit www.nicorgas.com.

Nicor Gas is one of the nation's largest gas distribution companies.Owned by Nicor Inc. (NYSE: GAS) a holding company, Nicor Gas has provided safe and reliable natural gas services for over 50 years. The Company serves more than two million customers in a service territory that encompasses most of the northern third of Illinois, excluding the city of Chicago. For more information on Nicor Gas, visit www.nicorgas.com.

 
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