West Virginia Regulator Expects Lower Utility Bills for 90 Percent of Natural Gas Customers

The West Virginia Public  Service Commission expects lower gas utility bills for the upcoming heating season, based on an initial review of utilities’ annual adjustments to the purchased gas portion of their rates, according to an Aug. 5 press release.

Utilities that serve over 91 percent of the natural gas customers in the state have filed requests to lower the “Purchased Gas Adjustment,” an estimate of the prices that utilities would pay for gas from November through October of the following year and a true-up of actual costs incurred in the prior year. The commission does not regulate natural gas prices, but examines purchasing practices to ensure reliable supply at the lowest market price. The price is determined by competitive markets. Utilities are authorized to recover their costs to purchase natural gas.

Mountaineer Gas Company asked for a reduction of 3.91 percent while Hope Gas/Dominion Energy requested an 8.87 percent decrease.  Five other companies, which serve 8.5 percent of natural gas customers, requested a hike in their purchased gas prices because of under-recovery last year, or anticipation of higher prices charged by suppliers.