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News Release
Gas Rates Go Up Today
December 1, 1999 (1999-052)
Contacts: Ron Eachus, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Roger Hamilton, Commissioner 503 378-6611; Joan H. Smith, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bonnie Tatom, Program Manager, 503 378-8225
Salem, OR - Increased costs for supply of natural gas, caused in part by expansion of Canadian pipelines, mean customers of the state’s three natural gas distributors will be paying higher rates starting today.
The Oregon Public Utility Commission yesterday approved an 8.7% increase in residential rates for customers of Northwest Natural. The monthly bill of a typical residential customer using 68 therms per month will increase by $4.12. Rates for commercial customers will go up an average 9.74%, and for industrial customers rates will increase an average 9.2%.
Last month the Commission completed an overall review of Northwest Natural’s rates, approving an increase of only 1.3% for residential customers and providing a slight decrease for industrial customers. However annual adjustments for the costs of gas supply and completion of a $33 million expansion of the Mist, Oregon storage facility forced further increases in rates.
Over two-thirds of the increase is due to adjustments for the cost of gas. Each October natural gas companies file applications to adjust rates for the year ahead based on changes in the cost of natural gas.
"The Northwest is losing its advantageous position for Canadian gas because the pipelines have been expanded to the Midwest and that is causing more demand and upward pressure on gas prices," Commission Chairman Ron Eachus explained.
Increase gas costs also led to rate increases for customers of Cascade Natural Gas and WP Natural Gas.
The monthly bill of a typical residential customer of Cascade Natural using 68 therms per month will increase by $2.62 or 5.7%. Commercial customers will pay an average of 6.9% more and industrial customers will pay 7.5% more.
A typical residential customer of WP Natural Gas will pay $3.30 more a month, a 9.6% increase, while commercial customer rates will increase an average of 11.5%.
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