Central Oregon

Cascade Natural Gas plans 12 pct. rate hike

Expects PUC OK by Nov. 1; cites 'pass-through' of higher gas costs

KENNEWICK, Wash. - Cascade Natural Gas Corp. announced Wednesday that it has filed a Purchased Gas Adjustment with the Oregon Public Utility Commission to reflect the increase in pipeline capacity, reservation and storage for natural gas.

The overall request, which also includes the end of a year-long refund, means an approximately 12 percent increase for Cascade customers in Oregon.

"The cost of gas, which includes pipeline, reservation and storage costs, is up slightly over last year. However, overall costs remain lower than just three years ago," said Scott Madison, executive vice president and general manager for Cascade. "The cost of gas makes up the largest segment of a customer's bill and is a pass-through cost to customers."

The request, coupled with the end of a year-long refund, means a residential customer using 55 therms a month can expect an increase of $5.71 on average per month, or approximately $69 for a 12-month period.

A commercial customer using an average of 230 therms a month can expect an increase of $22.90 per month or approximately $275 for a 12-month period.

A PGA is a mechanism designed to pass the actual costs of gas supplies to customers, the utility said in a statement.

"It is very common for the company to either under or over collect through the year as the natural gas market changes throughout the year," CNG said. "The actual purchase price usually differs from the projected price."

The proposed rate increase is expected to go into effect on Nov. 1, upon PUC approval.

Cascade Natural Gas is a natural gas distribution company serving approximately 260,000 residential, commercial, industrial and transportation customers in 96 communities in Washington and Oregon.

Cascade is a subsidiary of MDU Resources Group, Inc., a multidimensional natural resources enterprise traded on the New York Stock Exchange as "MDU." For more information about MDU Resources, visit the company's Web site at www.mdu.com. For more information about Cascade, visit www.cngc.com.  

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