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News Release
Natural Gas Prices Expected To Remain Flat or Rise Slightly
July 10, 2007 (2007-009)
Contacts:  Lee Beyer, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Ray Baum, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Ken Zimmerman, PUC Utility Gas Analyst, 503 373-1583; Bob Valdez, Public Affairs Specialist, 503 378-8962
Salem, OR –After three consecutive years of higher natural gas rates, the Oregon Public Utility Commission received a ray of encouraging news today. The Commission was told that natural gas prices this coming heating season will likely remain unchanged from a year ago to just slightly higher as Oregon’s natural gas companies secure supplies for their customers for the next year and beyond.
Commission gas analyst Ken Zimmerman said, “A lot of good things have happened. Prices are in a lull due to a drop in demand and adequate supply. Overall for prices, it has been a pretty dull year with not a lot of volatility.”  “Fortunately, dull is good news for customers after three consecutive years of rate hikes here in Oregon.”
By comparison, last year rates for NW Natural customers rose by 3.5%, 7.9% for Cascade and 7.1% for Avista.
Like last year, wild cards include the hurricane season and any unforeseen gas pipeline disruptions.
NW Natural Gas, Avista Utilties, and Cascade Natural Gas will file requests with the Commission in late August to adjust their rates as part of the annual Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA).  The annual adjustment allows companies to pass through their actual cost of purchasing gas to customers. Commission staff will analyze the requests and the Commission will make a decision.  Customer rates would change effective November 1, 2007. The companies make no additional profit from the adjustment.
NW Natural serves customers in Northwest Oregon. Avista Gas serves portions of Southwest and Northeastern Oregon while Cascade Natural Gas serves Central Oregon in the Bend region and parts of Northeast Oregon.