Spokane, WA-based Avista Utilities told the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that it was lowering its pending purchased gas cost adjustment (PGA) rate increase request from 14% to 4% for its 72,000 natural gas utility customers in the northern part of the state. In August Avista asked the PUC for the rate increase to cover its current and future wholesale costs of gas, effective Oct. 1 (see Daily GPI, Aug. 20). The revised request lowers Avista’s requested increase in annual revenues to $3.3 million from the original $11.6 million in its filing. The PUC said that its public comment period ends Monday (Sept. 23). Under the Idaho PUC PGA process, the utilities file annually to reflect changes in purchased gas costs. A portion of the PGA is a projection of what costs will be during the next year, but since the projections are never exact, the PGA is adjusted every 12 months to match projected and actual costs. For the average Avista gas customer using about 65 therms monthly, the lowered PGA increase would add about $3/month to bills.
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Natural gas is being left out initially in California’s preliminary recommended auction for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions allowances as part of a proposed cap-and-trade system for lowering the energy sector’s carbon footprint in the state by 2020 under a climate change law’s mandate. However, there is no consensus on this or other issues, such as cost, treatment of public-sector utilities, and the needed safeguards and monitoring of the allowance trading market.
Between Sept. 1 and Dec. 29, there were 11.2% fewer heating degree days (HDD) than normal, and the first two weeks of the new year are expected to be 18% warmer-than-normal, lowering the odds for a “normal” cold winter and higher natural gas prices, Stephen Smith Energy Associates noted last week in a monthly forecast.
Nevada regulators last Wednesday cut retail natural gas utility rates for customers of Sierra Pacific Power Co. in the northern half of the state, lowering them an average of 2.4%, a drop of $2/month for the typical residential gas utility customer. The new lower rates are effective Dec. 1.
Agreeing with the intent of lowering financial risk and raising credit ratings, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission Wednesday approved Avista Corp.’s proposal to reorganize, creating a still-to-be-renamed holding company for Avista Utilities, which serves electricity and natural gas customers in northern Idaho. The PUC noted that last year’s repeal of the federal Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA) allows multi-state utilities like Avista to form holding companies.
Maryland electricity customers may be turning off their lights and lowering their air conditioning this summer following an announcement by the Public Service Commission of Maryland (PSC) last week that some electric bills could jump by as much as 72% due in part to increased fuel prices, which has hiked the costs to utilities of buying electricity for retail distribution.
S&P Equity Research, using data from Global Insight, announced Friday it is lowering its 2005 Henry Hub bid week (blend of spot and contract) price projection by $0.16 to $8.19/MMBtu, and 2006’s by $0.06 to $9.47/MMBtu. The group is projecting a December bidweek price of $12.27/MMBtu and a five-month winter average approaching $13/MMBtu. The projections are subject to weather and the return of Gulf of Mexico supplies, analyst Tina Vital, an oil and gas analyst with Standard & Poor’s Equity Research, said. “While warm weather and bearish storage reports have pushed U.S. natural gas prices down to near $11 per million Btu, we believe these declines are temporary. With eastern U.S. winter weather expected to be colder than normal, we expect above-average storage withdrawals and Gulf production losses will boost Henry Hub bid week prices” with a peak price of $12.71/MMBtu in January.
A FERC administrative law judge (ALJ) on Thursday certified an uncontested offer of settlement that reduces by about 20-25% the transportation rates for shippers on Iroquois Gas Transmission System’s Eastchester extension that went into service earlier this year.
A FERC administrative law judge (ALJ) last Thursday certified an uncontested offer of settlement that reduces by about 20-25% the transportation rates for shippers on Iroquois Gas Transmission System’s Eastchester extension that went into service earlier this year.
The biggest mining and processing complex in the Alberta oilsands, stung by the sustained strength in natural gas prices, has set out to pare down its reliance on gas. Gas is burning up 20% of Syncrude Canada’s operating budget and the value of the natural gas has reached the point where manufacturing it from oilsands bitumen could pay off, COO Jim Carter said.