Cascade Natural Gas customers in Bend will see a rate increase of more than 8 percent beginning in November, after the state’s Public Utilities Commission on Friday approved the hike for gas users statewide.
In a release from PUC, the rate increase comes after years of rate decreases related to wholesale natural gas costs.
The new rates will go into effect November 1.
In part, rates will increase because the cost of natural gas supply spiked over the last year due to a pipeline explosion last winter, which impacted regional gas supply and caused prices to increase. The PUC approves adjustments to each company’s rates annually to reflect changes in the actual cost of wholesale priced natural gas, known as the Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA). This allows companies to pass through their actual cost of purchasing gas to customers without a markup on the price. Since 2009, Oregon residents have benefitted from a decrease in natural gas rates due to the PGA, except 2013 and 2014.
In response to the public comments received at the meeting to decide the Purchased Gas Adjustment, PUC Chair Megan Decker said, “We appreciate the members of the public and the Jackson County Fuel Committee for reminding us of the impact that our decisions have on customers of the utilities we regulate. We recognize that existing low-income programs are inadequate at meeting the needs of all customers to help address adjustments in rates, but we’ll continue to find ways to close that gap.”
Cascade Natural Gas, which serves more than 75,000 customers in the Bend region and parts of Northeast Oregon, is raising rates 8.3 percent.
For residential customers, the monthly bill of typical customer using 62 therms per month will increase by $3.89, or 8.3 percent, from $46.69 to $50.58.
Commercial customers using 264 therms per month will increase by $17.96, or 11.5 percent, from $156.73 to $174.69. And industrial customers who typically use 1,74 therms per month will increase by $135.50, or 13.8 percent, from $983.63 to $1,119.13.
CNG says customers could lower their gas bills by turning down thermostats to save up to 3 percent for each degree. A programmable thermostat that reduces heat at night or when no one is home can lower heating bills by 5 to 10 percent.
- Updating low-efficiency furnaces and water heaters with higher-efficiency models.
- Fully insulating homes to realize up to 30 percent savings on a heating bill.
- Cleaning or changing the furnace filter once a month during the heating season.
- Conducting an online Home Energy Review through the Energy Trust of Oregon.
- Asking their natural gas service provider about bill payment assistance programs.