Northwest NEWS

October 7, 2002

Local News

PSE customers in line for rate cut

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) filed a proposal with state regulators to cut its natural gas rates for the third time this year because of lower than anticipated wholesale natural gas prices.
   If authorized by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC), PSE will lower its gas rates, overall, by approximately 12.5 percent. Rates would fall by 8.5 cents per therm - or about $6.80 a month for a typical residential bill. The company cautioned, however, that wholesale prices for natural gas have begun to inch upward, which could affect customers' bills in the future.
   When combined with previous gas-rate reductions in June and September, the new rate decrease would have PSE's residential customers paying about 28 percent less for natural gas than last fall. With all three deductions, the typical household gas bill (based on 80 therms of usage) would be about $20 less per month.
   The utility is asking the WUTC to implement the latest rate reduction on Nov. 1. The proposal would credit customers' bills for amounts already collected by PSE. The credit accounts for the difference between previously forecasted wholesale gas prices and PSE's actual costs to buy the gas.
   "With winter heating season approaching," said Tim Hogan, PSE's senior vice president of external affairs, "it's a great time to be able to give our customers a significant reduction in rates."