November 11, 1997 in Nation/World

Wwp Seeks Gas Rate Hike In Idaho

From Staff And Wire Reports

Washington Water Power Co. Monday asked Idaho regulators to approve a 15.6 percent natural gas rate increase.

The filing with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, if approved, would raise the average homeowner’s bill by $5.54.

Utility officials said the increase, known as a “tracker,” would cover the higher costs of gas purchased over the last year from suppliers.

In the three previous years, rates were cut by nearly 30 percent as wholesale gas prices declined.

WWP has asked the commission to make the rates effective by Dec. 15.

Another rate proposal is pending in Washington, but the 15.6 percent general rate increase would pay for expansion of the distribution system, not the gas itself.

A separate filing may be made in Washington to account for changes in gas prices, said Tom Dukich, the head of WWP’s rates unit.

But how much, if anything, remains open as utilities head into the heating season and volatilty in gas markets peaks for the year, he said.

Dukich said a tracker filed last December in Washington captured most of the increases in gas prices that occurred last fall.

If an adjustment is needed this year, he said, WWP will ask that the general rate increase and tracker be combined so ratepayers see just one adjustment in their bills.

, DataTimes

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