UGI increasing natural gas costs in December

As its purchased gas cost rates will increase on December 1, 2022, UGI Utilities, Inc. announced the average residential heating customer’s bill in Pennsylvania will increase by 3.1%. The result is an increase in the average monthly heating bill from $199.54 to $123.28. 

Based in Denver, Pennsylvania, UGI Utilities serves more than 670,000 natural gas customers in 45 counties throughout the state. 

UGI Vice President and General Manager of Rates and Supply Chris Brown said in a statement that the Company recognizes customer concerns regarding rising energy prices, particularly during the heating season. 

“Unfortunately, commodity costs for nearly all fuels have continued to increase, including the wholesale cost of natural gas,” said Brown. “Despite this increase, natural gas remains a very economical energy choice backed by local, reliable shale gas supplies.” 

Utilities are required by law to pass the cost of the natural gas they buy directly to customers without markup. Brown noted that natural gas prices in Pennsylvania remain lower than in other areas of the United States due to local Marcellus Shale production. 

Brown encouraged customers on a fixed or limited income to contact UGI to find if they qualify for payment assistance programs. UGI offers budget billing along with multiple free payment options to customers enrolled in its online bill payment program. UGI also offers an auto-deduction program to assist customers in the payment of their bill.

Morphy Auctions acquires two Indiana-based auction houses

Morphy Auctions, based in Denver, Lancaster County, acquired Route 32 Auctions and the Indy Ad Show, to its organization.

Kevin and Jill Parker of Crawfordsville, Indiana, are the former owners of Route 32 Auctions and The Indy Ad Show. Route 32 Auctions was owned by the Parkers for the past five years, and The Indy Ad Show for the past four years.

Dan Morphy, the founder and president of Morphy Auctions, said dealing with the Parkers was one of the more enjoyable transactions he can recall since opening the gallery in 1997. 

“The Parkers have a genuine love for the types of antiques they sell and collect, and they are people of impeccable integrity,” said Morphy. “They’ve always run their businesses honestly and professionally, with an emphasis on treating all customers with respect. That’s exactly the way we strive to conduct ourselves at Morphy Auctions, so welcoming Route 32 and the legendary Indy Ad Show to our operation feels like branches of the same family coming together.”  

They will manage the show for the time being and Kevin will represent Morphy’s at major trade shows and expects to work on assignments with John Mihovetz, Morphy’s Automobilia and Petroliana Division Head. 

“Our talks with Morphy Auctions started when I mentioned in passing to John Mihovetz, who has been a friend for a long time, that we were thinking about selling our businesses,” said Kevin. “I had always felt that Morphy’s was a very respectable, high-end operation, with employees who have a positive outlook. They want to be there, doing the jobs they do.” 

Kevin recalls attending his first auction at Morphy’s and remembers, too, how welcoming Dan was. 

“I was a competitor, but he still invited me into his office for a chat, shook my hand and said, ‘If there’s ever anything I can do to help, let me know.’ So I asked John whether he thought Morphy’s might have an interest in our businesses. That got him excited, and he went to Dan and Tom (Tolworthy, Morphy’s CEO) with the idea. They were immediately on board.” 

New, 320,000-square-foot warehouse brings $45.5 million 

National real estate development and investment firm CRG announced that it has sold The Cubes at Emig Road, a just-built 311,920-square-foot distribution warehouse on 29 acres in Manchester Township. 

A release from CRG did not disclose the price or the buyer, but BizNewsPA reported that AIREF Emig DC LLC, based in Denver, paid $45.5 million for the 434 Emig Road property. 

DCL Logistics, a third-party logistics company headquartered in Fremont, Calif., is leasing approximately 125,000 square feet of the building, which was constructed on spec in the highly sought-after Interstate 78/81 corridor. JLL is marketing the rest of the space. 

The cross-dock warehouse includes 36-foot clear height, high-efficiency LED lighting, 29 dock doors, 149 car parking spaces and 27 trailer stalls. 

“The sale of The Cubes at Emig Road reaffirms the strength of The Cubes brand and our broader Northeast industrial development strategy amid unprecedented demand,” Frank Petkunas, senior vice president, Northeast Region, and partner for CRG, said in the release. “… We continue to explore development opportunities in high-growth markets throughout the region that offer proximity to labor, infrastructure and major population centers.” 

CRG President Shawn Clark added: “The Cubes at Emig is an excellent modern warehouse and well located on the I-81 industrial corridor to serve the needs of retailers, consumer products companies and third-party logistics firms in the Eastern United States. York, Pa., is a special market with quick access to Baltimore and Philadelphia’s strong intermodal network providing access to the nation’s top (metropolitan statistical areas).” 

An earlier release noted that The Cubes at Emig Road is CRG’s seventh industrial park of “The Cubes” brand. 

UGI Utilities accepts renewable natural gas into its pipelines

UGI Utilities, a subsidiary of UGI Corp. headquartered in Denver, Lancaster County, has begun to accept renewable natural gas from Archaea Energy into its pipeline distribution system.

An interconnect agreement with Archaea was signed last fiscal year to accept delivery of RNG produced from the Keystone Landfill in Dunmore. The recently completed interconnect, when fully operational, can accommodate up to 5.3 billion cubic feet of RNG each year, “making this the largest current RNG supply point in the United States to date,” a release said.

RNG from landfills is a low carbon energy solution derived from organic waste. “It is a sustainable and reliable energy source that is highly compatible with existing infrastructure when blended with natural gas,” according to the release.

UGI Utilities expects to utilize a portion of the renewable natural gas to serve customers beginning in 2022. This purchase was made possible by regulatory approval of a five-year pilot program by the state’s Public Utility Commission, the first of its kind in Pennsylvania, the release noted.

The project is expected to lower carbon dioxide emissions by an amount equivalent to removing 67,000 passenger vehicles over the course of a year.

“The approval of this pilot program is a significant step forward as we continue to develop sustainable, environmentally responsible energy solutions for our customers,” Robert F. Beard, UGI’s executive vice president – natural gas, global engineering, construction and procurement, said in the release. “UGI remains committed to developing renewable energy sources for the communities we serve.”

UGI purchases land for training complex

UGI to build new training complex in Bern Township, Berks County.
UGI will be building a training center in Bern Township, Berks County,

Groundbreaking on the training center is expected to begin in the spring. It will be used to provide training for UGI personnel within its 45-county service area.

The Training Center is designed to train, qualify, and prepare all UGI field personnel in natural gas operations work, the company said in a release. Training programs will be offered to UGI personnel from multiple departments including Construction and Maintenance, Safety, Service, as well as Meter and Regulation.

The complex will include a 47,500-square-foot training building and 10,500-square-foot welding building.

Those buildings will be complemented by a number of work areas that will provide “real-life” training settings for firefighting instruction, pipe corrosion and protection, backhoe excavation, as well as leak detection and remediation.

UGI serves more than 700,000 customers in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

UGI improves customer service for Spanish-speaking customers

UGI has improved its services for Spanish-speaking customers, according to a press release from Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

When Shapiro learned that it was difficult for UGI’s Spanish-speakers customers to navigate the utilities’ English-only automated phone messaging system, he took his concerns to the company, which is headquartered in Denver, Pennsylvania, and serves customers in 45 counties.

The company agreed to make the necessary changes to provide equal access to consumer resources for all, Shapiro said. The automated phone messaging system is now available in Spanish for Spanish-speaking UGI customers.

“There are 837,000 people in Pennsylvania who primarily speak Spanish,” Shapiro said. “It’s important they have access to the same information English speaking consumers do. Our Spanish speaking friends and neighbors…need to have the ability to report problems to their utility company without fear of a language barrier.”

Robert Stoyko, vice president of customer relations at UGI Utilities, said that he is grateful Shapiro brought the issue to his attention. “UGI has long offered a variety of services and programs for our Spanish-speaking customers, including a real-time translation service,” Stoyko said. “Following our interaction with the Attorney General, UGI enhanced and expanded our automated system to accommodate our Spanish-speaking customers as well.”