Cascade Natural Gas is reconsidering a proposed rate increase for natural gas customers after receiving negative feedback on a 17-percent rate hike from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. Cascade withdrew its previous request in December.
The rate increased was proposed on Nov. 30 in response to rising gas prices that followed from a gas pipeline rupture in Canada in October, said Mark Chiles, vice president of regulatory affairs and customer service at Cascade.
He also said the timing of the rate increase — which would have been effective in January, when most residential customers are seeing their highest heating bills — didn’t bode well.
“As we looked at it, we were receiving feedback from the commissioners, ... (and) it wasn’t looked favorably upon because of the timing,” Chiles said.
It’s common around each November for Cascade to file an adjustment request with the WUTC, which has the authority to approve or deny rate changes. The 17-percent increase proposal was out of cycle, and Chiles said Cascade hasn’t yet decided on whether to file another out-of-cycle request for 2019 natural gas rates.
“Because of (the pipe rupturing) it slowed the flow of gas into the U.S. Supply and demand caused gas prices to increase dramatically for us,” Chiles said. “Gas costs are a straight path. ... What we pay our suppliers is what customers pay us.”
Chiles said there are about 4,200 Cascade customers in the Longview area.