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Higher rates for natural gas proposed

10:23 am October 7th, 2013

Puget Sound Energy’s natural gas customers
in Graham, Spanaway, Eatonville,
Kapowsin and elsewhere in Pierce County
may see higher bills in about a month.
The utility last week filed a request with
state regulators to increase natural gas rates
for the upcoming winter season by an overall
1.5 percent, effective Nov. 1.
If approved by the state’s Utilities and
Transportation Commission, the proposal
will increase a typical household’s monthly
natural gas bill by 1.4 percent, or $1.07,
to $78.55. The higher amount is based on
68 therms of average monthly usage over a
12-month perio, and is about what Puget
Sound Energy customers were paying in
2010, according to the utility.
Commercial rates will increase by about
1.6 percent.
Puget Sound Energy is the only supplier
of natural gas in Pierce County, where it has
141,666 customers.
A spokesman for the utility said the increase
reflects a reduction of a credit included
in current rates for the cost of natural gas
supplies it purchased for customers. While
domestic supplies of natural gas are abundant,
the wholesale price of natural gas has
increased slightly in the past year, the spokesman
said.
The Utilities and Transportation Commission
can allow natural gas utilities to periodically
adjust rates, up or down, to reflect
changes in the price of the supplies that utilities
buy and deliver to customers.
Puget Sound Energy said it doesn’t gain
profit or lose on the cost of natural gas it purchases.
The only area in the county that doesn’t get
natural gas from Puget Sound Energy is the
town of Buckley, which has a different source.
In addition to its natural gas customers,
Puget Sound Energy has 107,936 electricity
customers in Pierce County. Statewide, the
utility serves 1.1 millon electricity and about
760,000 natural gas customers.

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