PSE will lower natural gas rates by 17.1

Puget Sound Energy today filed a request with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) to lower natural gas rates for the upcoming winter season by an overall 17.1 percent for all customer groups, effective Oct. 1, 2009, on top of a 1.8 percent decrease effective on June 1, 2009.

The Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA) decrease, the second decrease this year, would lower a typical household’s natural gas bill by about $80 per year — the amount that PSE customers were paying in 2005.

Last year, Puget Sound Energy’s natural gas rates rose about 10 percent as of Oct. 1, 2008, to reflect rising wholesale market prices last fall.

The PGA is the state-approved mechanism that allows Washington state’s natural gas utilities to periodically adjust rates, up or down, to reflect changes in the price of natural gas charged by producers and wholesale marketers. PSE does not financially profit or lose on the cost of natural gas purchased for customers.

The rate requests filed today are separate from the general rate case that PSE filed on May 8, seeking a 2.5 percent increase in natural gas rates and a 7.4 percent increase in electric rates to recover investments made in PSE’s energy system infrastructure. If approved, these proposed rate changes are expected to go into effect in April 2010.

Rebates and tax credits are available to customers who convert their heating systems to natural gas or upgrade or install energy-efficient natural gas appliances.

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