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Natural gas rates could be going down and up for Oregon customers   

Tags: Avista Utilities, Natural Gas, Oregon, Rates, Infrastructure upgrades

Natural gas crews install a gas pipeline.
Avista crews install a natural gas pipeline. Today's
rate request is focused on portion of the bill that
recovers Avista’s cost of delivering natural gas.

If you’re a natural gas customer in Oregon, you may be confused about why Avista requested a rate decrease in late August and today we requested an increase.

It comes down to the two portions that make up a natural gas bill, whether you’re a customer in Oregon, Washington or Idaho. About 65 percent of an Avista customer’s natural gas bill is the cost of the natural gas used during the month. The remaining 35 percent is Avista’s cost of delivering that natural gas to customers – the pipes and people.

The August filing in Oregon was Avista’s annual request - called a Purchased Gas Cost Adjustment or PGA - to true-up the cost of natural gas purchased over the year to meet customer needs. The request was for a 2.1 percent, or $1.25, decrease that impacts the natural gas portion of a monthly bill – the 65 percent. If approved by the Public Utility Commission of Oregon, or PUC, the lower rate would take effect Nov. 1, in time for winter.

Today’s request was for an overall 5.6 percent increase in the portion of the bill that recovers Avista’s cost of delivering the natural gas – the 35 percent portion. If the request is approved by the PUC, a residential customer using an average 46 therms a month would see a $3.71 increase, or 6.2 percent, increase sometimes in the first half of 2011. Read more in the news release and watch a video to learn about what makes up a rate case.

The bottom line is we expect the net result of these two requests will be about a 4 percent increase, if both are approved. If so, your natural gas rates will still be comparable to those in 2004.

You’re probably wondering why Avista doesn’t make all rate adjustments at the same time. We do that whenever we can, but it isn’t always possible. For example, some filings are mandated by the state utility commissions to be submitted at specific times of the year, while other filings depend on issues facing the company.

No matter what the timing, we’ll let you know about rates activity that impacts you. You can let us know what you’re thinking about rates or any other topic that’s on your mind by posting a comment in the block below or sending us an email at
Posted by  System Account  on  9/30/2010
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