Avista will give natural gas users rate cut

The growing reserve of natural gas in Canada and the Rocky Mountains region will provide a bit of economic relief for Avista Utilities Oregon customers this winter.

The Oregon Public Utility Commission approved rate adjustments Monday, clearing the way for a 6.5 percent cut in the price of natural gas for customers in Jackson and Josephine counties starting in November. In January, the billing rate will fall 6.7 percent.

According to the PUC, Avista's residential customers using 48 therms per month will see their bill decline by $3.65 to $54.35 in November. In January, the commission noted customers consuming 100 therms will discover a $7.61 saving, to $105.64.

For other Oregonians, however, the news wasn't so good.

"We are in an environment of low but slowly rising gas prices," Commission Chairman Susan Ackerman said in a statement. "Each of the utilities we regulate is unique when it comes to buying and transporting natural gas. Whether your rate falls or rises this coming year depends on which utility you get your natural gas from."

Rates bump up 1.52 percent for NW Natural residential customers next month, with a smaller bump in January. While Cascade Natural Gas residential rates in Central and northeastern Oregon remain the state's lowest, they will jump more than 12 percent.

Adjustments vary from company to company because of individual strategies for buying gas and handling transportation, along with other expenses. The PUC adjusts rates based on wholesale prices.

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