Natural gas customers in Oregon will pay a little less to heat their homes and businesses this coming winter. Today the Oregon Public Utility Commission approved rate decreases for all three of the state’s natural gas companies--Northwest Natural, Avista, and Cascade effective Nov. 1, 2010.
“ For the second year in a row Oregon consumers will pay a little less for natural gas. Wholesale natural gas prices the companies pay are lower so those savings will be passed along to customers,” Commission Chairman Ray Baum said. “This means households and businesses can use their money for other expenses.”
The Commission changes rates once a year to keep them in line with wholesale prices. Some years prices are higher and some years they are lower. The adjustments vary from company to company due to different gas purchasing strategies.
The monthly bill of a typical NW Natural residential customer using 55 therms per month will decrease by $0.89, or 1.3 percent, from $67.74 to $66.85. In January, a typical residential customer’s consumption of 110 therms will result in a billing decrease of $1.77, or 1.4 percent, from $129.48 to $127.71.
The monthly bill of a typical Avista residential customer using 46 therms per month will decrease by $1.63, or 2.7 percent, from $59.77 to $58.14. In January, a typical residential customer’s consumption of 94 therms will result in a billing decrease of $3.31, or 2.9 percent, from $115.12 to $111.81.
The monthly bill of a typical Cascade residential customer using 57 therms per month will decrease by $3.14, or 4.8 percent, from $65.80 to $62.66. In January, a typical residential customer’s consumption of 161 therms will result in a billing decrease of $8.86, or 4.9 percent, from $180.37 to $171.51.
NW Natural serves customers in northwest Oregon. Avista Utilities serves portions of southwest and northeastern Oregon while Cascade Natural Gas serves Central Oregon in the Bend region and parts of Northeast Oregon. These companies serve about 757,000 Oregonians.
Oregon’s natural gas comes through pipelines from gas fields in Canada and the Rocky Mountain region.
Even with the price drop, customers can reduce their bill further:
- Turning down your thermostat can 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%.
- Update low-efficiency furnaces and water heaters with higher-efficiency models.
- Fully insulating your residence generally results in up to 30% savings on a heating bill.
- Clean or change the furnace filter once a month during the heating season.
- Ask for an energy audit by the utility that provides your heating. Customers of NW Natural and Cascade should arrange for an audit through the Energy Trust of Oregon at: http://www.energytrust.org/. Avista Utilities conducts traditional energy audits.
- And lastly, contact your gas utility about bill payment assistance.