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Cascade Home » Customer Service » Understanding Your Bill » Explanation of Charges on Your Bill

For increased transparency, Cascade Natural Gas Corporation is now separately itemizing each Public Utilities Commission-approved charge on your bill. Before January 2017, these itemized costs were shown as “one per therm rate” for gas costs. Your billing rates have not changed. The only change is that each charge is separately listed, making it easy to compare them against the company’s tariff schedules, which are posted here.

Below is a brief summary of the charges that could appear on a Washington customer bill:

Basic Service Charge

The Basic Service Charge recovers the fixed cost to serve you regardless of your usage. For example, the cost to maintain your meter or to send you a bill is the same whether you use a lot or a little gas. This rate is found on the rate schedule on which you receive service. (e.g. Schedule 503 Residential; Schedule 504 Commercial)

Average Cost of Gas

The Average Cost of Gas is the cost of buying a therm of gas multiplied by your actual gas usage. This cost is passed directly through with no markup. This rate is referred to as WACOG (weighted average cost of gas) on the rate schedule on which you receive service. (e.g. Schedule 503 Residential; Schedule 504 Commercial)

Delivery Charge

The Delivery Charge is the cost to transport the gas and maintain the pipeline distribution system. This rate is found on the rate schedule on which you receive service. (Schedule 503 Residential; Schedule 504 Commercial)

Energy Assistance Fund

The Washington Energy Assistance Fund provides bill pay assistance to qualified low-income customers. This program reduces the cost of bad debt for all customers. (Schedule 593)

Decoupling Mechanism

Decoupling Mechanism costs are credits or debits to stabilize bills, which fluctuate for reasons such as extreme weather. (Schedule 594)

Deferred Gas Costs

Rates for gas costs designed to collect the necessary cost of gas based on forecast sales. The Deferred Gas Costs line item is the debit or credit that corrects any difference between the forecast gas costs with actual costs. (Schedule 595)

Conservation

Conservation Cost Recovery recovers costs for Cascade’s conservation program, which the company offers to all core customers as required by regulation. (Schedule 596)

Pipeline Replacement

This charge recovers the cost for distribution pipeline that needs to be replaced to maintain a safe and reliable system. (Schedule 597)

City Tax

Cities and counties charge Cascade a tax for doing business in their jurisdiction. By regulation, the company must pass this tax through to customers at the rate it is incurred. (Schedule 500)

Protected EDIT

Customer refund for excess taxes collected on utility plant and assets. These must be returned to customers over a long period of time which is determined by the regulatory lives of the plant and assets.  They are “protected” because they will not be refunded faster than federal regulations allow.

Unprotected EDIT

Customer refund for excess taxes collected on other “non-plant” items.  They are “unprotected” and could be refunded immediately, however the Washington commission agreed to a refund period of 10 years.  These refunds will benefit customers until approximately October 31, 2028.

FIT Credit

Customer refund for excess taxes collected from January 1st to July 31st, 2018.  We continued to collect some taxes at the 35% rate until our new rates went into effect on August 1st.  Therefore, we had a partial year of excess taxes that must now be refunded to customers.  This will be a much faster refund which will occur over an approximately 15-month period.

Temp. Gas Cost Amortization

An adjustment to rates to recover the increased cost of natural gas resulting from a pipeline explosion on the Enbridge supply pipeline that occurred on October 9, 2018.  The explosion and subsequent repair impacted gas supplies and prices beginning in October 2018 through the current year. This temporary rate increase is in place for three years to help mitigate the financial burden on customers.

Gas costs are a straight pass through, meaning, Cascade does not earn a profit on the cost of gas.  The actual cost of gas is compared to the approved cost built into customer rates with the difference ultimately being charged or refunded to customers in a subsequent period.

Below is a brief summary of the charges that could appear on an Oregon customer bill:

Basic Service Charge

The Basic Service Charge recovers the fixed cost to serve you regardless of your usage. For example, the cost to maintain your meter or to send you a bill is the same whether you use a lot or a little gas. This rate is found on the rate schedule on which you receive service. (e.g. Schedule 101 Residential; Schedule 104.1 Commercial)

Delivery Charge

The Delivery Charge is the cost to transport the gas and maintain the pipeline distribution system. This rate is found on the rate schedule on which you receive service.

Average Cost of Gas

The Average Cost of Gas is the cost of buying a therm of gas multiplied by your actual gas usage. This cost is passed directly through with no markup. This rate is referred to as WACOG (weighted average cost of gas) on the rate schedule on which you receive service. (e.g. Schedule 101 Residential; Schedule 104.1 Commercial)

City Tax

Cities and counties charge Cascade a tax for doing business in their jurisdiction. By regulation, the company must pass this tax through to customers at the rate it is incurred. (e.g. Schedule 100)

Public Purpose Fund

This rate is set to collect the budgets for the Energy Trust conservation programs, the Oregon Low Income Bill Pay Assistance (OLIBA) program, the Oregon Low Income Energy Conservation (OLIEC) Program, and the Conservation Achievement Tariff (CAT) Program.  The allocation of funds collected is revised to increase the amount distributed to OLIEC and CAT.

The PPC applies a charge to bills equal to a percentage of customers’ total charges for gas service.  Collections from this charge fund the Energy Trust of Oregon (Energy Trust) delivered natural gas energy efficiency programs offered to sales customers in Cascade’s Oregon service territory as well as the Company’s low-income programs, which include the Oregon bill pay assistance program, OLIEC and CAT. (e.g. Schedule 31)