The Oregon Public Utility Commission has approved a rate increase for the state’s three regulated utilities, including Avista Natural Gas, starting Nov. 1.
According to a news release by the commission, the cost of natural gas being supplied to the utilities “spiked” over the last year due to a pipeline explosion that affected the regional supply. In the past 10 years, the commission stated, Oregon residents have seen a decrease in their rates, other than in 2013 and 2014.
PUC chair Megan Decker said in a statement that they appreciated those who testified to remind the committee that rate increases impact customers negatively.
“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,” she said.
Avista Natural Gas, which serves the La Grande area, received approval for an overall increase of 10% in November, plus a 2.5% increase in January to cover non-gas costs.
When both increases are in place, typical residential customers using 46 therms per month will see their bill increase from $48.11 to $55.41 at a 15.2% increase. Commercial customers using 197 therms per month will see an increase from $174.15 to $194.66. Industrial customers using 3,990 therms per month will see an increase from $1,640.57 to $1,910.06.
Cascade Natural Gas, which serves Hermiston and Pendleton, received approval for an overall increase of 8.5%, raising $5.3 million. Residential customers using 62 therms per month will see an increase from $46.69 to $50.58.
On the west side of the state, NW Natural received approval for a 2.4% increase.