Idaho regulators are taking comments from stakeholders until Sept. 20 on a slight proposed natural gas rate decrease by Intermountain Gas Co., which told the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that retail utility bills won’t be increasing in the future, reflecting what it called stability in wholesale gas prices.

The weighted average cost of gas (WACOG) will drop from 73.2 cents/th to 72.4 cents/therm, if the PUC approves the gas utility’s request. That is a $1.6 million, or 0.5%, decrease in Intermountain’s net revenue. The WACOG amounts to about half of a typical natural gas utility customer’s monthly bill, the PUC said.

“The stability in wholesale market prices for natural gas is a departure from the volatility of the last two years,” said a PUC spokesperson. “Last year, the company received a 27.6% in its WACOG, due to increased wholesale gas prices. A year before that (2004), the increase was 10%.”

Intermountain told the regulators the newfound price stability is the result of a number of factors, including the company’s practice of procuring gas during the traditionally lower-priced summer season and storing it for use in the winter. Intermountain also thinks that wholesale prices have been moderated by increased levels of storage nationally and the post-2005 hurricane restoration in the Gulf of Mexico.

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