October 31, 2012 (2012-013)
Contacts: Susan Ackerman, Chair, 503 378-6611, Stephen Bloom, Commissioner, 503 378-6611, John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611, Bob Valdez, Public Affairs Specialist, 503 378-8962
Salem, OR. Customers of NW Natural Gas, Avista Utilities and Cascade Natural Gas can expect to pay less for natural gas this coming winter. The new rates go into effect Nov.1, 2012.
The purchased gas adjustment mechanism approved by the Commission today allows Oregon’s natural gas utilities to adjust rates, up or down, to reflect changes in the price of natural gas purchased and delivered to customers.
“The surge in natural gas supplies due largely to new drilling techniques is a major factor for falling prices,” said Commissioner Stephen Bloom. “This means that Oregonians won’t pay as much to heat their homes and run businesses the next 12 months and that is a good thing.”
Natural gas utilities do not profit or lose money on the cost of natural gas purchased for customers.
The utilities distribute natural gas to customers but do not produce the fuel. Oregon’s supply of natural gas comes primarily from Canada and the Rocky Mountain region.
With these changes, the monthly bill of a typical residential customer using 53 therms per month will decrease by $4.36, or 6.9%, from $63.03 to $58.67. (This adjustment is offset by a just-approved general rate case decision, so customers will see a slightly smaller reduction).
With these changes, the monthly bill of a typical residential customer using 47 therms per month will decrease by $4.78, or 7.7 percent, from $62.00 to $57.22.
With these changes, the monthly bill of a typical residential customer using 55 therms per month will decrease by $9.79, or 17.30 percent, from $56.60 to $46.81.
Customers can reduce their bill further:
- Turning down your thermostat can save up to 3 percent for each degree. A programmable thermostat that reduces heat at night or when no one is home can lower heating bills by 5 to 10 percent.
- Update low-efficiency furnaces and water heaters with higher-efficiency models.
- Fully insulating your residence generally results in up to 30 percent savings on a heating bill.
- Clean or change the furnace filter once a month during the heating season.
- Ask for an energy audit by the utility that provides your heating. Customers of NW Natural and Cascade should arrange for an audit through the Energy Trust of Oregon at: http://www.energytrust.org/. Avista Utilities provides traditional energy audits.