The Bowland-Hodder Shale of northern England has between 822 and 2,281 Tcf of natural gas in place, according to a new study that is the first to integrate all existing seismic data, geological analyses and well samples from the shale, the British Geological Survey (BGS) said Thursday. The assessment is higher than earlier estimates.
Articles from Sound
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) has approved a multi-year rate plan for Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to increase annual limits for natural gas and electricity rates over the next three to four years. PSE’s gas rates would increase by $9.1 million, or 1.55%, and power rates would increase by $52.3 million, or 3.34%, effective Monday (July 1). Rates may increase over the period by a maximum of 3%, with any excess amounts recovered the following year. Also as part of the approval, UTC separated utility profits from sales levels. The so-called “decoupling” allows the utility to recover fixed costs regardless of how much gas and electricity it sells.
The White House climate action plan, announced in a speech Tuesday, comes down hard on coal-fired power plants, pledges continued support for the development and use of non-polluting renewable energy and promotes “cleaner-burning natural gas” as a bridge to a clean future.
In what is believed to be a first in the industry, elected officials in Mora County, NM, have enacted a total ban on oil and gas drilling.
Washington state regulators fined Bellevue, WA-based Puget Sound Energy (PSE) $430,000 for improperly charging natural gas and electric utility residential customers for disconnecting their service. The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) approved a multi-party settlement agreement that alleged 1,639 violations by the combination utility of the state’s consumer protection rules. In addition, PSE now has refunded disconnect-visit fees it charged more than 9,000 customers, dating back to December 2009. PSE also has agreed to change its policy regarding the disconnection visits, the UTC said.
Washington state regulators fined Bellevue, WA-based Puget Sound Energy (PSE) $250,000 for failing to correct violations found two years ago in the combination utility’s management of customer accounts. The state Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) originally fined PSE $104,300 in October 2010 for allegedly improperly handling customer accounts, including low-income customers that were disconnected for nonpayment. In addition to the penalty, PSE was ordered to correct 265 accounts. UTC approved a multi-party settlement of a complaint that originally alleged 515 violations of the regulators’ 2010 order. Besides the UTC staff and PSE, the settlement included the Public Counsel Section of the Washington Attorney General’s Office, and the nonprofit The Energy Project, representing low-income customers. UTC said PSE now has provided refunds and credits to the customers with the mishandled accounts, and it has changed its billing practices to ensure that customer payments are applied correctly to avoid improper shutoffs. The utility also has agreed to make a $75,000 contribution to its low-income assistance program.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) on Monday approved retail natural gas and electricity rate increases for Bellevue, WA-based Puget Sound Energy (PSE), effective May 14 — 1.3%, or $13.4 million annually, for gas customers and 3.2%, or $63.3 million, for power users. PSE originally asked for $32 million and $161 million, for gas and electricity, respectively, when it filed with the UTC last June. The gas increase will cause retail residential bills to increase a little more than a dollar/month, increasing to an average monthly bill of $86; the electric increase will push monthly residential bills up $3.30 to $102.56/month. Among the major reasons for the wide difference between what PSE asked for and what the UTC granted for power rates was the steep decline in natural gas prices during the past 11 months, a UTC spokesperson said. As part of the general rate case decision, the UTC lowered PSE’s returns on equity (10.1% to 9.8%) and overall rate of return (8.1% to 7.8%).
Bellevue, WA-based Puget Sound Energy (PSE) named Phil Bussey to a newly created position of senior vice president and chief customer officer. Bussey’s focus will be on the services PSE provides to its 1.5 million natural gas and electric utility customers and various stakeholder groups. He will join the Puget Energy combination utility in mid-March, coming from his current position as CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. Bussey previously served as PSE’s senior vice president for corporate affairs before taking the position heading the chamber. In his new position, he will be responsible for customer solutions, corporate affairs, and federal/state government relations.
State of Washington regulatory commission staff Wednesday lodged allegations against Puget Sound Energy (PSE) that the combination utility improperly charged residential customers for reconnection of their natural gas and electric service in violation of state consumer protection rules. The staff of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) alleges 1,639 violations by PSE. Those allegations are separate from an ongoing case involving a $104,300 penalty already assessed the Bellevue, WA-based utility for violating an order directing it to correct the use of its “refusal of service” requirements (see Daily GPI, Oct. 27). The UTC staff is asking that more than 1,600 customers allegedly charged a $13 field visit disconnection fee in error be reimbursed by the utility, following an investigation that spanned from March to May this year.
Washington state regulatory staff said it plans to recommend deep cuts in Puget Sound Energy’s (PSE) proposed $182 million natural gas and electric general rate increase request. The staff is recommending a total increase of a little more than $40 million annually to the three-member Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC). Bellevue, WA-based PSE proposed increasing retail gas utility rates by $30 million annually and electric rates by $152 million. Public comments are still being taken by the UTC, which will hold hearings on the rate case Feb. 1 and 15. The proposed rate changes are slated to take effect May 1.