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Tri-city Natural Gas Prices go up by 18%

Natural Gas prices are rising across Washington State, with the average customer of Cascade in Kennewick seeing a roughly 18 percent rise this month. The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission is blaming the COVID-19 outbreak. It approved rate increases for Washington’s four providers last week, which will take effect on Monday, Nov. 1. According to the commission, the average Cascade residential customer uses 56 therms per month and may expect their monthly bills to rise by nearly $10 to $65.90.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, production of Natural Gas has slowed while demand has increased, resulting in increased wholesale costs for Washington utilities,” the commission said in an announcement. Cascade Natural Gas provides Natural Gas to over 225,000 residential and commercial customers in 68 cities across the state, including Kennewick, Richland, and Pasco. As a result, its average cost per user increases at the fastest rate among Washington’s four providers.

The average bill for an Avista client in Spokane will increase by 10%, the average bill for NW Natural in southwest Washington will increase by 11%, and the average bill for Puget Sound Energy will increase by 6%. According to the commission, regional disparities in monthly residential usage, supply sources, conservation and energy efficiency programs, low-income program expenditures, and business gas purchasing strategies account for the variety in gas pricing among utilities.

Natural Gas firms must file reports with the state commission every 15 months to alter prices based on constantly fluctuating wholesale price. According to the commission, utilities pass on the cost of gas purchases to consumers but do not make or lose money due to the cost of gas purchases.

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