Staff of the Washington state Utilities and Transportation Commission has reached an all-party settlement calling for a $5.2 million decrease in rates for Cascade Natural Gas Co. The decrease, driven mostly by impacts of the federal tax reforms, comes instead of Cascade’s request for a $5.9 million (2.7%) rate increase. If approved by the three-member commission, the decrease would be effective Aug. 1. Staff called the settlement a “partial” deal because it does not address the return to customers of Cascade’s interim tax collections for the first seven months of this year. That issue is to be determined by the commission this summer.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has ordered 17 electric, natural gas, water and sewage utilities to credit customer bills in response to the decrease in their federal corporate tax rates under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The credits total more than $320 million annually. Like other states, the order followed an extensive review of the effect tax reform would have on utility’ rates. The natural gas utilities required to begin crediting bills include PECO Energy Co.; National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp.; Peoples Gas Co. LLC; Peoples Equitable Division; and UGI Corp. subsidiaries. Depending on the tax impact at each utility, the PUC said consumer bills are expected to decrease by 0.56-8.55%.

Former Rice Energy Inc. executives have formed a $200 million investment firm to pursue investments of $1 million to $40 million across the oil and gas sector. Rice Energy was founded by the Rice brothers. Daniel, Toby, Derek and Ryan Rice have partnered, along with another company executive, Kyle Derham, to form the Rice Investment Group based in Pittsburgh. The company is targeting investments in the upstream, midstream, oilfield services and energy technology sectors. Appalachian pure-play Rice Energy was sold to EQT Corp. in 2017 for $8.2 billion.