Puget Sound Energy (PSE) today received approval from theWashington State Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) tomake natural gas available for the first time to portions ofKittitas County.

The WUTC decision provides Puget Sound Energy (NYSE:PSD – news)with a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity to extend naturalgas service into a 295-square-mile area along the I-90 corridor.Tying into an existing natural gas supply pipeline nearby, PSEintends to deliver natural gas first to the city of Kittitas andthe community of Thorp, and then extend service as far northwest asthe city of Roslyn. The project excludes the city of Ellensburg,which operates a natural gas utility.

“Since Puget Sound Energy (PSE) already serves parts of KittitasCounty with electricity, it seemed a natural fit to extend ourutility’s natural gas service to the area,” said Ron Davis, vicepresident of regulation and utility planning for Puget SoundEnergy. “While the city of Ellensburg operates a natural gasutility for its local residents and businesses, citizens in morerural areas of Kittitas County have never had this advantage. Nowthe benefits of this lower-cost energy option will be availablealong areas of the I-90 corridor.”

In February 1997, Puget Power merged with Washington Energy,parent of Washington Natural Gas, to form Puget Sound Energy. Theutility has served parts of Kittitas County since 1923. Puget SoundEnergy currently serves electricity to 8,400 customers in KittitasCounty and provides natural gas in Snohomish, King, Pierce,Thurston and Lewis counties.

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