Docket number: UG-210755
Editor’s note: This news release reflects the position of staff of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) and NOT the views of the three-member commission. It discusses an agreement that the commissioners have not yet reviewed. Any positions taken or comments offered by the commission staff regarding this proceeding should be attributed clearly to staff members and NOT to the UTC.
LACEY, Wash. - Staff of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission recently filed an agreement to fully settle Cascade Natural Gas’ request to increase customer rates in Washington.
The three-member commission, which is not bound by the agreement, will make a final decision on the utility’s revenue-increase request this summer.
A virtual public comment hearing is scheduled May 25 for customers to comment on the proposal.
Under the agreement, Cascade Natural Gas will see an increase of $10.7 million, or 8.64%, a decrease from the $13.7 million (11.1%) in the company’s original request.
The company limited its request to a few major items, attributing most of its rate increase request to additional infrastructure that came into service since its most recent rate case, and wage increases that went into effect in 2021.
Offsetting the revenue increase request, the settlement also includes a $3 million reduction related to how the company calculated the depreciation of its assets in 2021. Over time, as facility and plant investments age and their value decreases, the amount utilities can recover for those investments from customer rates also decreases.
Parties to the settlement are UTC staff and Cascade Natural Gas; the Public Counsel Section of the Attorney General’s Office, The Energy Project, and the Alliance of Western Energy Customers participated in the proceeding representing customer interests but are not parties to the agreement.
Kennewick-based Cascade Natural Gas Corporation serves almost 230,000 residential and business customers in 68 communities throughout the state, including Aberdeen, Bellingham, Bremerton, Kennewick, Longview, Moses Lake, Mount Vernon, Walla Walla, Wenatchee, and Yakima.
The UTC is the state agency that regulates private, investor-owned electric and 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.