Questar Gas Requests Psc Approval Of Decrease in Rates
Questar Gas recently asked the Utah Public Service Commission to approve a $28.3 million decrease in the company's rates.
The decrease results from lower projected purchased gas prices, pointed out the company.
Questar purchases about one-half of the natural gas the companies provides to customers from outside suppliers.
The remainder of the natural gas comes from Questar's reserves that are delivered to customers at cost-of-service pricing.
The company-owned gas is currently significantly less expensive than the natural fuel purchased from outside suppliers, according to Questar officials.
"Questar Gas typically asks for PSC approval twice yearly to adjust rates to reflect the changing costs of natural gas that we buy on behalf of our customers," explained Alan Allred, company president and chief executive officer "These costs are passed on to customers with no markup.
"Market prices for natural gas in the Rockies have more than doubled over the past year, driven by rising global oil prices and domestic supply constraints, including hurricane-related damage to gas-production facilities," continued the company's chief executive officer. "Fortunately, for our customers, prices have recently fallen as Gulf Coast facilities and supplies have been restored. Also, demand is lower because winter temperatures have been above normal and Americans have conserved. Normally, we would wait and make this request in the spring, when the full impact of falling prices will be more clear. But we want to lower rates now so bills reflect falling gas prices as soon as possible.
"We understand the public's frustration with high energy prices," added Allred. "But markets are working, natural gas prices are coming down, and rates in Utah - already the lowest in the country - are also coming down."
If Questar's request is approved by the Utah Public Service Commission, the proposed decrease will reduce the monthly bill for the typical residential customer in Carbon County and across Utah by approximately 2.5 percent, indicated the company.
Because of increases in gas costs in 2005, the typical equal pay customer will still pay more for gas service than last February, based on the same usage.
The proposed decrease is in addition to an earlier $10.2 million rate cut proposed in December by Questar Gas, the Utah Division of Public Utilities and Utah Clean Energy, noted the company.
The public service commission is currently considering the earlier proposal for a conservation-enabling tariff, noted the company. If approved, the tariff has the potential to result in additional savings of $19 million for Questar Gas customers.
The company suggests Carbon County residents consider several following several steps to help cope with fluctuating gas prices.
"We encourage customers to use energy wisely by properly maintaining their equipment, making sure their insulation is adequate and considering proven technology such as setback thermostats," pointed out Questar's chief executive officer.
In addition, funds may be available to help income-eligible customers pay gas bills.
Customers may obtain applications for federal funds by calling the home energy assistance target program, indicated the natural gas company president.
A second possible funding source is the residential energy assistance through community help program.
The REACH program is supported by voluntary donations from Questar Gas customers, employees and shareholders and administered by the Red Cross.
REACH applicants must first apply for assistance from the federally funded HEAT program.
The REACH program runs year-round or until funds are exhausted, concluded the natural gas company.