Cascade Natural Gas proposes rate increase

Cascade Natural Gas is proposing a rate increase of 5.62 percent for its Washington customers starting Nov. 1.

It filed the proposal Tuesday with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. The proposed new rate would be lower than Cascade predicted in a recent notice to customers.

A residential customer using 56 therms a month would pay $3.38 more per month or $40.56 a year. A commercial customer using 271 therms a month would pay $16.21 more per month or $194.52 per year.

“The bulk of this increase request is because of an increase in pipeline capacity that is needed to meet demand, as well as the commodity cost of gas, which is up slightly over last year,” said Scott Madison, executive vice president for Cascade.

Reserves of natural gas were drawn down last year because of the cold winter across the nation and now the reserves are being replenished, with more natural gas going back into storage. That has created an increase in demand.

The cost of gas makes up the largest segment of a customer’s bill and the cost is passed on directly to customers. The price change includes a 5.24 percent increase for the cost of natural gas and pipeline capacity.

The remainder is for energy efficiency programs and replacing pipelines.