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Wwp Boosting Rates For Natural Gas

Natural gas rates for Washington residential customers of Washington Water Power Co. will increase almost 10 percent as of Thursday.

Washington regulators approved the hike last week.

The action will raise the typical homeowner bills $3.64 per month by adjusting the basic monthly charge twice. Thursday, the charge goes to $3.80 from $3.25. The fee goes to $4 next Nov. 1.

Other gas customers face increases ranging from 7 percent, for most business and commercial customers, down to zero, available only to industry and other large users who purchase directly from suppliers and not from the utility.

The overall boost equals 7.5 percent, which will produce an additional $5 million in revenues to the Spokane company.

The package had been negotiated last month by the staff of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission and representatives of WWP, industrial customers and the public.

The commission acts independently and does not necessarily endorse agreements arranged by its staff.

In June, the company asked regulators for a $7.8 million increase to cover the costs of expanding and maintaining its gas delivery system.

Residential rates would have jumped 15 percent had that application won commission approval.

As part of the agreement, WWP will not seek another rate increase before 2000 unless the company faces extraordinary financial hardship.

The company’s last general rate increase was granted in 1990, but several adjustments have been made since then - mostly downward - to track the cost of gas to the utility.

, DataTimes

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