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News Release
 
Staying Warm Will Cost Less This Coming Winter
 
Oct 27, 2009 (2009-016) (UG 187, UG188, UG189)
 
Contacts:  Lee Beyer, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Ray Baum, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Affairs Specialist, 503 378-8962
 
Salem, OR.  There’s good news if you heat your home or run your business with natural gas. That’s because you can look forward to a double-digit price drop this winter following action today by the Oregon Public Utility Commission to reduce rates beginning Nov. 1, 2009.
 
“Prices have fallen because demand for natural gas has dropped off due to the economy, and new drilling technology has opened up access to domestic gas fields that were previously out of reach,” Commission Chairman Lee Beyer said. “More importantly this hopefully will enable Oregon households to spend their money on other things.” 
 
The average NW Natural residential customer using 55 therms will experience a drop in their monthly bill of $14.96 or 18.1%.  In January, a typical residential customer’s consumption of 109 therms will result in a billing decrease of $29.65, or 18.8%, from $157.93 to $128.28. The average commercial customer will experience a decrease in their monthly bill of approximately 21.1%.
 
 
The monthly bill of a typical Avista Utilities residential customer using 52 therms per month will decrease by $15.99, or 20.7 percent, from $77.43 to $61.44. In January, a typical residential customer’s consumption of 104 therms will result in a billing decrease of $31.98 or 21.5%, from $148.86 to $116.88. The average commercial customer will experience a decrease in their monthly bill of approximately 23.5%.
 
The monthly bill of a typical Cascade Natural Gas Corporation residential customer using 56 therms per month will decrease by $9.80, or 13.2%, from $74.49 to $64.69. In January, a typical residential customer’s consumption of 121 therms will result in a billing decrease of $21.16, or 13.4%, from $157.46 to $136.30. The average commercial customer will experience a decrease in their monthly bill of approximately 15.3%.
 
The Commission approves adjustments to each of the company’s rates once a year to reflect the actual cost of the wholesale price of natural gas. This allows natural gas companies to pass through their actual cost of purchasing gas. There is no markup of the price.
 
Oregon’s natural gas comes through pipelines from gas fields in Canada and the Rocky Mountain region.
 
NW Natural serves customers in northwest Oregon. Avista Utilities serves portions of southwest and northeastern Oregon while Cascade Natural Gas serves Central Oregon in the Bend region and parts of Northeast Oregon.
 
Roughly 740,000 Oregonians get their natural gas from either NW Natural Gas, Avista Utilities or Cascade Natural Gas Corporation.
 
Even with the price drop, the Commission says customers can reduce their bill further by using less gas:
 
  • Turning your thermostat down can save up to 3% for each degree.  A programmable thermostat that automatically reduces heat at night or while the house is unoccupied can lower heating bills by 5 to 10%.
  • Asking for an energy audit by the utility that provides your heating. Customers of NW Natural and Cascade should arrange for an audit through the Energy Trust of Oregon. Avista Utilities conducts traditional energy audits.
  • Updating low-efficiency furnaces and water heaters with higher-efficiency models.  Rebates are available from the Energy Trust of Oregon for NW Natural and Cascade customers and from Avista for its customers.
  • Premium-efficiency furnaces can also qualify for a state tax credit from the Oregon Department of Energy.  Check for qualifying furnaces at Furnaces and for qualifying water heaters at Water Heaters.
  • Fully insulating your residence generally results in up to 30% savings on a heating bill.
  • Clean or change the furnace filter once a month during the heating season.
  • And lastly, contact your gas utility about bill payment assistance.
 
For more energy saving ideas go to https://energy.gov/energysaver/energy-saver 
 
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