Northwest Natural Gas Company, dba, NW Natural (NYSE:NWN), today announced it has filed tariffs with the Public Utility Commission of Oregon (OPUC) and the Washington Utility and Transportation Commission (WUTC) requesting to provide about a $35 million credit to its Oregon customers and about a $4 million credit to its Washington customers as a result of lower wholesale natural gas costs.
“The natural gas prices we’ve secured in the last several months are substantially lower than what is currently set in our rates. The continued decline in natural gas prices has been dramatic, and we’re pleased to be able to get those savings back to customers earlier than our annual gas cost adjustment this fall,” said Gregg Kantor, NW Natural president and CEO.
Ordinarily, gas cost savings are held in a deferral account and returned as a reduction to customer bills beginning with the annual rates set each November.
If approved by the OPUC and WUTC, the refunds are based on gas cost savings accumulated from November 1, 2011 through March 31, 2012 and will show up as a credit to residential, commercial and industrial sales customers on their June bills. This bill credit will be based on each customer’s actual gas usage during those five months.For example, an average Oregon residential customer that uses 91 therms per month from November through March can expect to receive a one-time bill credit of approximately $37. An average Oregon commercial customer that uses 382 therms per month during that same time period can expect to receive a credit of approximately $153. In Washington, an average residential customer that uses 97 therms per month from November through March can expect a credit of about $44, and an average commercial customer using 394 therms during that same time period can expect a credit of about $179.