Rate changes for Washington natural gas customers start Nov. 1

Docket numbers: UG-210672, UG-210408, UG-210707, UG-210708, UG-210709, UG-210711, UG-210723, UG-170094, UG-210555, UG-210698, UG-210699, UG-210701, UG-210678, UG-210721  

COVID-19 pandemic increases natural gas prices 


LACEY, Wash. - Higher nationwide wholesale natural gas prices will impact Washington gas utility customers in Washington beginning Nov. 1. 

Recognizing the impact these higher prices will have on customers, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission today approved rate increases for all four of the state’s natural gas utilities.  

Higher customer gas costs in part reflect increases in natural gas market prices. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, production of natural gas has slowed while demand has increased, resulting in increased wholesale costs for Washington utilities. 

Natural gas companies must submit Purchased Gas Cost Adjustment (PGA) filings at least every 15 months to adjust rates based on the constantly changing cost of natural gas in the wholesale market. Companies pass the cost of gas purchases on to customers; companies do not profit from or lose money on gas purchases.  

The variation in gas rates among Washington’s investor-owned utilities is due to regional differences in monthly residential usage, supply sources, conservation and energy efficiency programs, low-income program costs, and company gas purchasing practices. 

The Commission encourages gas customers with concerns about the ability to pay their bills this winter to reach out to their gas company about bill management and assistance programs, as well utility conservation and weatherization programs to support reducing gas usage and thus lowering bills.    

Avista Corporation  

Docket: UG-210672 (PGA)   

The average bill for a typical Avista residential natural gas customer using 66 therms will increase by 9.98% or $5.81 a month, for an average monthly bill of $64.04.  

Spokane-based Avista serves nearly 170,000 natural gas customers in eastern Washington.  

Cascade Natural Gas 

Dockets: UG-210711 (PGA), UG-210408, UG-210707, UG-210708, UG-210709, UG-210723 

The typical Cascade residential customer using 56 therms a month will see an increase of 17.57% or $9.85, for an average monthly bill of $65.90. 

Kennewick-based Cascade serves more than 225,000 residential and business customers in 68 communities throughout the state, including Aberdeen, Bellingham, Bremerton, Kennewick, Longview, Moses Lake, Mount Vernon, Sunnyside, Walla Walla, Wenatchee, and Yakima.  

NW Natural  

Dockets: UG-210701 (PGA), UG-170094, UG-210699, UG-210698, UG-210555 

The typical NW Natural residential customer using 57 therms a month will see an increase of 10.78% or about $6.33 a month, for an average monthly bill of $65.04.  

Portland-based NW Natural provides natural gas service to about 92,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in southwest Washington.  

Puget Sound Energy 

Dockets: UG-210721 (PGA), UG-210678 

The typical PSE residential customer using 64 therms a month will see an increase of 5.83% or $4.15, for an average monthly bill of $75.34. 

Bellevue-based PSE provides natural gas service to more than 870,000 customers in six Washington counties: King, Kittitas, Lewis, Pierce, Snohomish, and Thurston.  

The UTC 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.