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Commission Approves Higher Natural Gas Rates

 

 

October 28, 2014 (2014-18)
 
Contacts: Susan Ackerman, Chair, 503 378-6611, Stephen Bloom, Commissioner, 503 378-6611,
John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611, Bob Valdez, Public Affairs Specialist, 503 378-8962 
 
Salem, OR.  It will cost you a little more to heat your home or operate your business with natural gas this winter.
 
Today the Oregon Public Utility Commission approved new rates to take effect beginning Nov. 1, 2014, to reflect changes in commodity natural gas prices.
 
Prices are higher due to colder than normal weather in the Eastern part of the U.S., which drew down natural gas storage reserves to well below their five year average,” Commissioner John Savage said. “The market prices indicate that the storage issue is temporary, and we should see a return to the long-term trend of lower-priced gas.”
 
NW Natural
 
·          Overall-An increase of $23 million, or 3.4 percent
·          Residential  2.0 percent
·          Commercial  4.5 percent increase
·          Industrial  10.4 percent increase
 
With these changes, the monthly bill of a typical residential customer using 53 therms per month will increase by $1.06, or 1.7 percent, from $61.70 to $62.63.  
 
Avista Utilities
 
·          Overall – An increase of $7.73 million, or 8.3 percent
·          Residential  7.8 percent
·          Commercial  9.4 percent increase
·          Industrial  13.4 percent increase
 
With these changes, effective November 1, 2014, the monthly bill of a residential customer using an average of 47 therms per month will increase by $4.36, or 7.8 percent, from $55.97 to $60.33.
 
Cascade Natural Gas
 
·          Overall – An increase of $.543 million, or 0.86 percent
·          Residential  0.8 percent
·          Commercial  0.3 percent increase
·          Industrial  3.7 percent increase
 
With these changes, the monthly bill of a typical residential customer using 54 therms per month will increase by $0.38, or 0.72 percent, from $51.61 to $51.99.

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 arrives through pipelines connected to gas fields in Canada and the Rocky Mountain region, which have ample supplies.
 
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.  
 
Customers can reduce their bill by:
• Turning down your thermostat can save up to 3 percent for each degree. A programmable thermostat that reduces heat at night or when no one is home can lower heating bills by 5 to 10%.
• Update low-efficiency furnaces and water heaters with higher-efficiency models.
• 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.
• Ask 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.
• And lastly, contact your gas utility about bill payment assistance.

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