Intermountain Gas Company has asked the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to authorize further reductions of its retail natural gas utility rates based on lower wholesale gas costs. Intermountain asked to lower its annual revenue requirement by $2.2 million, effective Oct. 1.
This is the fourth rate decrease sought by the Boise, ID-based utility in the past five years. The rate change is part of Intermountain's annual purchased gas adjustment (PGA), which tracks changes in the commodity cost of gas, transportation of the supplies through interstate pipelines and storage costs.
Intermountain is reflecting an overall decrease in the commodity, transportation and storage charges in requesting the latest annual PGA decrease, which will be an average savings of 90 cents/month for residential customers and about 18 cents each month for business customers. Larger customers are looking at an increase, mainly because of increased costs for transportation.
Noting that the utility has been able to "hold the line" on gas costs in the past year, Intermountain Executive Vice President Frank Morehouse said overall demand for natural gas on the utility's system "remains low while natural gas supplies are plentiful. This continued imbalance between supply and demand has kept the near-term prices for gas relatively low.
"Some other customers will have a slight increase due to the inclusion of all costs of getting the gas from the producers to the end users. While the cost of gas declined, costs of transportation and delivery have increased."
The PGA does not impact the utility's earnings, whether the gas adjustment is an increase or decrease. The amount collected in the PGA variable portion of rates can be used only to meet gas supply, transportation, storage and other related expenses and cannot go to increase the utility's earnings.
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