CHARLESTON, W.Va. Local residents who use gas to heat their homes may see a slight reduction in expenses this winter. While final gas rates will be not be official until 2012, the West Virginia Public Service Commission recently concluded rates should be lowered.
The Commission reviewed rate filings by natural gas utility provided and issued new interim rates that will take effect Nov. 1.
The order by the PSC effects gas utilities across the Mountain State, including two that has local impact:
The purchased gas rate for Equitable Gas is being reduced from $5.28 to $4.90 per Mcf (one thousand cubic feet).
Mountaineer Gas is being reduced from $6.74 to $6.11 per Mcf.
The purchased gas adjustment (PGA), according to Commission officials, is based on an estimated future costs utility companies will have to pay for gas from suppliers from Nov. 1 of a given year to Oct. 30 of the following year. The PSC said it reviews the PGAs annually and makes any necessary changes.
As the PGAs are modified, residential rates are also adjusted each year to reflect the fluctuating prices of natural gas, the PSC said. The Commission does not regulate the price of those purchases which is determined by competitive markets, but does examine the gas purchasing practices of gas utilities and reviews the reasonableness of the requested increases.
Other companies being ordered to lower their gas rates include: Consumers Gas, Bluefield Gas, Blacksville Oil & Gas, Canaan Valley Gas, Standard Gas and Union Oil & Gas.
According to the Commission, the only major natural gas company in West Virginia to ask for an increase in their purchased gas rate is Hope Gas which will go from $4.83 to $6.50 per Mcf. That increase includes an underrecovery of gas costs by Hope Gas in previous years.
More information may be obtained by visiting the PSC website: www.psc.state.wv.us