SOURCE: NW Natural

NW Natural

September 02, 2010 18:45 ET

NW Natural Files Rate Adjustment

Company Indicates Rate Reduction Likely for Upcoming Year

PORTLAND, OR--(Marketwire - September 2, 2010) -  Northwest Natural Gas Company, dba NW Natural (NYSE: NWN), today filed its initial request with the Public Utility Commission of Oregon (OPUC) for a rate adjustment to reflect gas purchases for the upcoming year that begins November 1.

If the initial request is approved as filed, rates would slightly increase by 0.1 percent -- one tenth of 1 percent. A residential customer using 55 therms per month would see an average monthly bill increase of 6 cents a month. The average commercial customer would see an increase of 30 cents a month.

However, as part of the regulatory process, the company will update this filing in October and all indications point to a small rate reduction when that final filing is made.

"Barring any extreme events, we expect prices to stay low as we continue to buy supplies for the upcoming heating season, which should turn the current small increase into a rate decrease when all the numbers are in," said Randy Friedman, Director of Gas Supply.

Once the final filing is approved by regulators, the rate adjustment will take effect Nov. 1, 2010.

Each year, gas utilities file adjusted rates with state regulators, based primarily on the cost of buying natural gas for customers. Gas prices fell substantially in 2009, allowing NW Natural to lower rates by 14 percent in Oregon.

"A slow economy and abundant domestic gas supplies have helped hold down wholesale gas costs over the last two years, allowing us to buy low and pass those savings on to our customers," said Gregg Kantor, President and CEO. "This heating season NW Natural customers will be paying about the same prices as they did in 2004. We're pleased we can offer this kind of value, and we'll continue to do everything we can to hold down costs."

NW Natural does not mark up the cost of gas, passing the commodity price of natural gas directly on to customers with no additional fees or profit margin.

About NW Natural
Northwest Natural Gas Company, dba NW Natural (NYSE: NWN), is headquartered in Portland, Ore., and serves approximately 670,000 residential and business customers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. It is the largest independent natural gas utility in the Pacific Northwest. For more information about NW Natural, please visit www.nwnatural.com

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