Gas and electricity price adjustments coming soon

Puget Sound Energy has filed a request with Washington 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 Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC), the proposed Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA) will increase a typical household’s natural gas bill (based on 68 therms of average monthly usage over a 12-month period) by 1.4 percent, or $1.07, to $78.55. That is about what PSE customers were paying in 2010. Commercial rates will increase by about 1.6 percent.

The PGA is a mechanism that allows Washington state’s natural gas utilities to periodically adjust rates, up or down, to reflect changes in the price of the natural gas supplies that utilities purchase and deliver to customers. PSE does not financially profit or lose on the cost of natural gas purchased for customers.

However, in a similar matter regarding the variability of electricity power costs, the UTC staff recommended late last month that PSE reduce electric rates, and not raise them, rejecting the company’s claim that it needs additional revenue to cover electric power supply costs.

The UTC staff recommended that the company lower electric revenues by 0.77 percent, beginning Dec. 1.

The three-member commission, which is not bound by the staff recommendation, will make a final decision on the utility’s request this fall.

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