Natural gas rate hike OK’d

Natural gas customers in Snohomish County will see their monthly bills jump by more than $7 a month starting Sunday, following the Utilities and Transportation Commission’s approval Wednesday of a rate hike.

Puget Sound Energy argued the increase was necessary to cover the rising wholesale cost of natural gas, though spot prices for the fuel have fluctuated up and down during 2006.

With the state regulators’ approval, the average residential gas customer’s bill will rise by 8.8 percent, or $7.26 a month, according to PSE.

That brings the gas bill for the average household – using about 60 therms a month – to $90.29, when equalized over the year. Commercial customers generally will see larger increases, PSE said.

Because the cost of the fuel has risen repeatedly in recent years, it now accounts for 70 percent of the average customer’s bill, while PSE’s charge for delivering the gas makes up the rest. This week’s rate adjustment marks the fourth consecutive year PSE has asked for an increase to cover higher gas costs, according to the utilities commission.

Last year at this time, the gas company received permission to raise its rates by 13 percent, or about $11 a month, as natural gas prices spiked in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The utility has asked the state to allow for a larger permanent rate increase, which is being reviewed by state regulators.

So far, Cascade Natural Gas, which serves northern Snohomish County, has not asked for a rate adjustment this season.

On Wednesday, natural gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange plunged to their lowest level since December 2002. The 7 percent decline in natural gas futures reflects record levels of stored reserves, due to last year’s relatively mild winter.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Reporter Eric Fetters: 425-339-3453 or

More in Herald Business Journal

Peoples, HomeStreet banks bump lowest salaries after tax cut

The banks with Snohomish County branches will raise minimum salaries for employees to $15 an hour.

Electroimpact cuts Mukilteo staff by 9 percent

“What we’re missing now is a monster anchor project,” the company’s VP said.

Exotic animals find compassionate care in Bothell (video)

At the Center for Bird and Exotic Animal Medicine, vets treat snakes, hedgehogs and even kangaroos.

How can you tell if you are getting good financial advice?

Assume that it’s still the same buyer-beware market that has always existed.

Amanda Strong (left) tries on an Angel of the Winds Arena hat as she and Courtney Brown hand out gift bags after the renaming ceremony Dec. 13 in Everett. The new name replaces the Xfinity name. (Andy Bronson / Her file)
Angel of the Winds to break ground on $60M casino expansion

“We think we’re on the cusp of becoming a major resort.”

In this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, a clerk reaches to a shelf to pick an item for a customer order at the Amazon Prime warehouse, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Amazon’s potential HQ2 sites leaves many cities disappointed

And yet, some municipal leaders are looking at the bright side of being rejected.

How do you retrieve an errant Boeing 737 from a muddy slope?

Turkish authorities used cranes to lift a plane that skidded off a runway.

Don’t take economic forecasts to the bank — or the casino

Air travel delays could spur a rebirth of passenger rail service.

Emirates orders 20 more Airbus A380 jumbos, saving program

The Dubai carrier also has options to buy 16 more. The program seems safe until 2029.

Most Read