The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) has received two all-party general rate case settlements covering NW Natural's 84,000-plus residential, commercial and industrial customers in a discreet corner of the southwest portion of Washington state.
Aimed to take effect Nov. 1, one settlement would raise annual revenues from Washington-based customers by $5.1 million, or 7.8%, and provide a $2.5 million tax rebate triggered by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
The first settlement also would begin the first annual installment of $400,000 on a federal-mandated $14.6 million additional deferred tax benefit for customers.
The three-member UTC is to make a final decision on the request this fall. The agreement, filed last December, asked for an overall increase of $8.3 million, or 12.6%.
A second settlement would establish a five-year rate decoupling mechanism to separate NW Natural's recovery of fixed costs from its weather-related gas sales volumes. The utility's revenues now are determined on a per-customer basis.
The decoupling, if approved by the UTC, would remove financial disincentives for NW Natural to push conservation measures, which support the state's ongoing efforts to decarbonize its energy use.