By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Bluefield Gas and Mountaineer Gas customers are among the consumers across West Virginia who will see a decrease in their gas bills after the first of November.
The Public Service Commission of West Virginia ordered Friday that natural gas utilities lower the purchased gas portion of their rates for the upcoming heating season, according to a statement issued by the PSC.
The lower interim rates will go into effect on Nov. 1 this year. Final rates will be set in early 2013. Bluefield Gas and Mountaineer Gas are among the gas utilities that will have the reduced rates this winter.
Mountaineer Gas will see the purchased gas portion of its rates go from $6.11 to $4.98 per Mcf, a decrease of 18.5 percent. The PSC did not state how much the Bluefield Gas rates would decrease, and PSC officials were not available Friday.
Any savings is welcome news for residents, said Mayor Linda Whalen.
“I think any savings we get is very much needed and very much appreciated. That’s wonderful news for our residents,” Whalen said. “We don’t get many these days. It’s rare to get a decrease.”
Purchased gas adjustment (PGA) proceedings provide for annual rate adjustments based on an estimate of future costs utilities will pay for natural gas from their suppliers for the period of Nov. 1 through Oct. 30 of the following year. Customers’ gas rates are adjusted annually to account for differences in the cost of gas in PGA cases. The PGA accounts for approximately two thirds of the residential gas customer’s bill, commission officials said in their press release. The PGA is solely a pass-through of gas costs and does not include a profit for the utility.