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News Release
 
Commission Grants Coastal Territory to NW Natural
 
June 2, 2000 (2000-027)
 
Contacts: Ron Eachus, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Roger Hamilton, Commissioner 503 378-6611; Joan H. Smith, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bonnie Tatom, Natural Gas Manager, 503-378-8225; Bob Valdez, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
 
Salem, OR - The Oregon Public Utility Commission has approved NW Natural's application for exclusive rights to provide natural gas service to portions of Coos County. The territory does not include the city of Bandon, which may itself want to provide natural gas distribution to its residents.
 
The territorial application is part of an economic development project undertaken by Coos County and supported by the State to diversify the coastal economy by building a nearly 60-mile long, $50 million gas pipeline.
 
Coos County voters have approved the issuance of up to $27 million in bonds for the project.
 
NW Natural would not enter into negotiations with the county without knowing that it has exclusive ability to provide the natural gas. No other natural gas provider expressed an interest in serving this territory.
 
The Commission concluded the company met the requirement that it is more economical and feasible for it to serve the area. First, it already serves part of Coos County, although at this time NWN only provides propane gas. Second, NW Natural appears to be able to provide service to both future and current customers at rates close to current NW Natural customer rates.
 
The Commission concluded, that to make the pipeline extension economically feasible to both customers and NW Natural, only one gas provider should serve the entire county. The Commission said denying the application would prevent the project from going forward. The Commission order directs NW Natural to file an application to "unallocate" the territory if it is not served by May 31, 2007.
 
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