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News Release
Natural Gas Price Outlook Topic of Commission Hearing
June 22, 2004 (2004 - 018)
Contacts: Lee Beyer, Chairman, 503 378-6611; John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Ray Baum, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
Salem, OR – The Oregon Public Utility Commission will host a forum June 24 in Salem in the Commission’s main hearing room to hear from a wide range of experts regarding the prospects for natural gas prices this summer and coming winter for home heating, industry, and for generation of electricity.
Officials from Oregon’s three natural gas distribution companies will be among those scheduled to share their insights with the Commission.
The three natural gas companies in Oregon, which serve a total of 630,000 customers, are: Northwest Natural Gas, Avista and Cascade. Northwest Natural serves about 501,000 customers, Avista about 82,000 and Cascade nearly 47,000.
The Commission will adjust each company’s rates in October to reflect changes in the wholesale price of natural gas. The Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA) passes through to customers increases or decreases in the utility’s cost of buying gas for the upcoming year. It also addresses differences between forecasted gas costs in the previous year with actual costs. The companies make no profit from these adjustments.
How Does it Affect Oregon’s LDCs and Customers?
June 24, 2004
9:30 a.m.
Main Hearing Room
  • Introductions
  •  Panel Discussion
    Regional Perspective --- Dan Kirschner, Northwest Gas Association with Randy Friedman, NW Natural, Pattie Grable, Cascade Natural Gas, and Bob Gruber, Avista Utilities and Terry Morlan, NW Planning Council
    What is the Price and Supply Outlook for Natural Gas in the Next Year? Two Years? Five Years? Ten Years?
  • Stakeholder Perspectives
    1. Citizens’ Utility Board --- Bob Jenks
    2. Northwest Industrial Gas Users --- Paula Pyron
    3. Oregon Department of Energy --- David Stewart-Smith
    4. GTN --- Kevin Christie
    5. Williams–Northwest Pipeline Company --- Jane Harrison
    6. Electric Utilities --- Jim Lobdell, PGE and David Engberg, PacifiCorp
    7. Duke Energy Gas Transmission --- Greg Staple
    8. Electric Generators --- Robert Kahn, Northwest Independent Power Producers Coalition and Colin Coe, Calpine
  • Specific LDC Issues – Panel of LDC Representatives
    1. How has your purchasing strategy affected your cost of gas and price volatility over the last 3 years? The next 2 years?
    2. How have you used hedging mechanisms to minimize gas price volatility?
    3. Does your use of storage resources mitigate price volatility?
    4. Should we support the direct use of natural gas?
    5. What rate changes should customers expect on October 1?
    6. What resources/programs are available to assist customers?
    7. Do you foresee the need to file for a general rate change in the next year?
  • Commissioners’ Closing Remarks