The Commission is responsible for ensuring that investor-owned or commission-regulated private natural gas utilities offer safe and reliable energy at reasonable rates, and for promoting the development of competitive markets. It accomplishes this by:
· Setting the rates charged to homes and businesses.
· Promoting price and service competition, where appropriate, so that utilities and their customers can shop for the cheapest supplies and get services tailored to their needs.
· Setting and enforcing price and service rules that protect consumers.
· Establishing regulatory policies that induce utilities to secure the mix of new resources, including energy efficiency and renewable energy sources that will meet customer needs at the lowest cost and risk.
Rates: The Commission sets rates that give Oregon’s three regulated natural gas utilities. The Commission evaluates various costs such as labor, maintenance, purchased energy, and the cost of capital to determine how much of these costs should be included in customer rates. The Commission also decides the share of utilities’ total costs to assign to different groups of customers and the structure of customer rates.
The Energy Trust also runs conservation programs for Northwest Natural and Cascade Natural Gas, two of the three natural gas utilities operating in Oregon. The Commission oversees the energy efficiency program offered by Avista Utilities.
Commission-Regulated Natural Gas Utilities