Wash. & Idaho regulators OK natural gas decreases   


You might have seen this in the local news over the last few days – good news travels fast – Washington and Idaho regulators have approved sizable decreases in your natural gas rates. This latest decrease will be 25 percent in Washington, 23 percent in Idaho.

Bottom line for Washington, it’s the third such decrease in 2009 alone, totaling about 35 percent. In Idaho, the overall total reduction is 30 percent. We requested these decreases last January, this summer and again this fall and have to wait for each state commission to approve any change.

These new rates were approved this week and will be effective Sunday, Nov. 1, just in time for the winter heating season.

Before you crank up the heat in celebration, remember that to really see the cost benefits of lower rates, you will need to at least maintain your current usage (or use less). You may want to turn up the heat a bit because it’s cheaper to do it, but just remember that your savings could be wiped out if you chose to use more than the previous year. Be comfortable, but knowledgeable about your usage.

If you want to take a closer look at your usage from last year, log on to your My Account and look at the Bill Analyzer, which can compare one month or one year of usage, giving you a breakdown of contributing factors of the changes on your bill. If you don't have a My Account, click here.

One final note – these rate decreases are because of the declining cost of natural gas on the wholesale market. Your total natural gas bill is divided into two costs: natural gas (about two-thirds) and the cost to deliver the gas (about one-third). Wholesale natural gas prices fluctuate based on market conditions. That means prices may increase over the next year. When the cost of gas goes back up, it will be reflected in the rates you pay. We’ll keep you informed of any changes on this blog.

Read the Washington Utility and Transportation Commission release, “State approves third reduction this year in natural gas rates for Avista customers.” You might also want to check out reporter Tom Sowa’s Spokesman-Review story, “Some of the chill coming out of Avista bills.”
Posted by  System Account  on  10/30/2009
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