Cascade Natural Gas Corporation Rate Cases and Pending Advice Filings
Cascade Natural Gas Corporation is a regulated utility under the jurisdiction of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) for the service it provides to Washington customers and the Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC) for the service it provides to Oregon customers. Each state’s regulatory commission must review and approve the Company’s terms and conditions of service as well as the rates it proposes to charge customers prior to approving them for use.
When the costs of providing safe and reliable natural gas service exceeds what customers are paying in rates, Cascade Natural Gas files a rate case with the applicable state regulatory commission asking for an increase in the amount it collects from all customers. The need to recover additional costs is often due to upgrading aging infrastructure and technology; meeting growing demand; and complying with state and federal regulatory requirements, such as environmental mandates.
The Company may make a more simple advice filing that changes a charge, fee or term of service.
The Company does not have authority to change any rate, fee, or term in its tariff book without approval of a state regulatory commission.
WUTC approves recovery of natural gas costs from Nov. 2018 through Jan. 2019
State regulators on March 28 approved an increase in Cascade Natural Gas customer rates, allowing the company to recover costs associated with securing natural gas supply in the wake of the October 2018 rupture of a Canadian pipeline.
The Utilities and Transportation Commission approved the company’s request to recover an additional $48 million in costs accumulated between Nov. 1, 2018, and Jan. 31, 2019, following the rupture of the Enbridge pipeline that disrupted natural gas markets throughout the Pacific Northwest.
The commission approved the company’s request on the condition that the company collect the costs over a three-year period, rather than the two-year period originally requested. The commission determined the rate impacts would be a more significant burden to customers if the company were to recover costs over two years.
Under the rates approved today, a typical residential customer using an average of 54 therms will see a bill increase of approximately $4.11.
The new rates are effective April 1.
On Oct. 9, 2018, a 36-inch diameter natural gas mainline ruptured near Prince George, British Columbia. The Enbridge pipeline serves markets in Canada, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho with natural gas production from northeastern BC through the Sumas hub, which is located on the border between British Columbia and Washington state. Imports of natural gas at the Sumas hub, which averaged 1.1 billion cubic feet per day in the first half of 2018, fell to zero for a day after the rupture.
On Oct. 31, Enbridge announced that it had successfully completed repairs on the ruptured section of the pipeline, but capacity delays continued through the winter of 2019.
Cascade historically has met about half of its winter gas needs using Sumas imports. While gas supply was constrained through the Sumas hub, the company used market contracts at higher than normal rates to meet operating requirements and customer demand. The total cost of gas is passed on to customers, which means companies do not profit from or lose money on gas purchases.