The following is a release from the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission:
Natural gas customers in Washington will see small changes on their energy bills, which went into affect Nov. 1.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission approved rate increase for Puget Sound Energy and Cascade Natural Gas natural gas customers and a decreases for Avista Utilities and Northwest Natural Gas on Oct. 27.
Natural gas companies are required to submit Purchased Gas Cost Adjustment (PGA) filings at least every 15 months to adjust rates based on the constantly changing cost of natural gas in the wholesale market. The total cost of gas is passed on to customers, which means that the company does not earn a return on, or lose money on, gas costs.
The variation in rates among the three gas utilities is due in part to differences in monthly residential usage, conservation and energy efficiency programs, low-income program costs and gas purchasing practices. Rates for Cascade and Puget Sound Energy also reflect costs of commission-approved pipeline replacement programs.
In Western Washington, Puget Sound Energy’s average residential natural gas customer using 68 therms a month will see an increase of .2 percent, or 14 cents, for an average monthly bill of $71.60.
Bellevue-based Puget Sound Energy serves 813,240 natural gas customers in parts of King, Kittitas, Lewis, Pierce, Snohomish, and Thurston counties.
The average bill for a typical Avista residential natural gas customer in Eastern Washington using 66 therms will fall by 4.9 percent, or about $3.04 a month, for an average monthly bill of $58.81.
Headquartered in Spokane, Avista serves about 155,000 natural gas customers, primarily in Eastern Washington.
The average residential customer of Northwest Natural Gas Company using 53 therms will see a decrease of about 1.5 percent, or 79 cents a month, for an average monthly bill of $51.12.
Headquartered in Portland, Ore., Northwest Natural Gas Company serves more than 75,000 residential and commercial customers in Clark, Skamania and Klickitat counties in Washington.
The average Cascade residential customers using 49 therms a month will be an increase of 1.3 percent, or about 56 cents, for a total monthly bill of $42.25.
Kennewick-based Cascade Natural Gas Corporation serves almost 210,000 residential and business customers in 65 communities throughout the state, including Aberdeen, Bellingham, Bremerton, Kennewick, Longview, Moses Lake, Mount Vernon, Walla Walla, Wenatchee and Yakima.
The utilities distribute natural gas to customers but do not produce their own fuel. About half of Washington’s natural gas supplies come from the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia and the other half from Rocky Mountain production sites such as Wyoming.
The three-member state commission regulates the private, investor-owned natural gas utilities in Washington. It is the commission’s responsibility to ensure regulated companies provide safe and reliable service to customers at reasonable rates, while allowing them the opportunity to earn a fair profit.