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Docket number: UG-131748, UG-131870, UG-131627, UG-131816
OLYMPIA, Wash. – More than 1.2 million natural gas customers in Washington will pay more for service beginning Nov. 1 due to the increase in wholesale natural gas costs.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) today approved increases for the state’s four natural gas utility companies. The companies submit Purchased Gas Cost Adjustment (PGA) filings each year to adjust rates for the constantly changing cost of natural gas in the wholesale market.
Natural gas companies in Washington are required to file a PGA at least every 15 months. The total cost of gas is passed through to customers, which means that the company does not earn a return on, or lose any money on, the cost of prudently incurred gas costs.
In Western Washington, Puget Sound Energy’s average residential natural gas customer using 68 therms a month will see an increase of 0.4 percent, or $0.36, for a monthly bill of almost $78.
The average bill for a typical Avista residential customer in Eastern Washington using 68 therms will rise by 9.4 percent, or about $5.44 a month, for a revised bill of $63.07.
Cascade Natural Gas Co.’s average residential customer using 54 therms a month will pay 18 percent more, an increase of $8.50, for a total of almost $54. Part of this increase is due to the company ending a year-long refund, which had reduced bills during the past 12 months. The refund was due to past overcollection by Cascade.
The average residential customer of southwest Washington’s Northwest Natural Gas Co. (NWNG) using 56 therms will see an increase of about 1.5 percent, or $.91 a month, for a total of $60.
The utilities distribute natural gas to customers but do not produce their own fuel. About half of Washington’s natural gas supplies come from the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia and the other half from Rocky Mountain production sites such as Wyoming.
Bellevue-based Puget Sound Energy serves 783,659 natural gas customers in parts of King, Kittitas, Lewis, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston counties.
Headquartered in Spokane, Avista serves about 150,000 natural gas customers, primarily in Eastern Washington.
Kennewick-based Cascade Natural Gas Corp. serves almost 200,000 residential and business customers in 65 communities throughout the state, including Bellingham, Bremerton, Mount Vernon, Aberdeen, Longview, Moses Lake, Kennewick, Walla Walla, Wenatchee and Yakima.
Headquartered in Portland, Ore., NWNG serves about 72,000 residential and commercial customers in Clark, Skamania and Klickitat counties in Washington.
The three-member state commission regulates the private, investor-owned natural gas utilities in Washington. It is the commission’s responsibility to ensure regulated companies provide safe and reliable service to customers at reasonable rates, while allowing them the opportunity to earn a fair profit.