Greeley Gas rate increase on hold |

Greeley Gas rate increase on hold

Christina M. Currie

Residential customers need not fear their natural gas rates will increase this month. On the other hand, commercial customers won’t get the price break they’ve been anticipating either.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission suspended Greeley Gas’ rate change proposal pending a hearing.

“There will be a hearing down the road, but at this time no dates have been set,” PUC spokesman Terry Bote said.

The rate change is still on the table, but it has to go through a hearing process at which Greeley Gas will argue its case and opponents will have the chance to argue theirs.

The proposed change could mean a savings of $10.20 a month for the average commercial account and an increase of $1.20 a month for the average residential account.

It was determined last year that Greeley Gas was entitled to a $4 million increase, now the PUC will determine whether the proposed changes are equitable, Bote said.

“This is Phase II in a rate case that was approved last year,” he said. “It doesn’t entail any revenue increase for the company, it’s just a shift of rates in various classes.”

When the rate increase was approved last year, Greeley Gas implemented a blanket increase for all accounts. Now, the company is proposing specific changes to each class. If approved, residential rates for facility fees the cost of transportation and service would increase from $6.59 to $9.75 and the price of natural gas would decrease from $.16583 ccf (cost per cubic foot) to $.14060 ccf.

On commercial accounts, the facility fee would increase from $17.07 to $18.75 and the cost of natural gas would decrease from $.18998 ccf to $.13398 ccf using the average usage, Greeley Gas estimates that will result in a savings of $10.20 per month.

According to Karen Wilkes, public relations director for Greeley Gas, the company makes no profit on the sale of natural gas or upstream costs the price of piping the gas to Greeley Gas. Those costs, she said, pass through directly to the consumer.

The load distribution charge and the facility charge are where Greeley Gas can make a profit, and a small one at that, she said. Greeley Gas is entitled to earn no more than an 11.25 percent profit “which we haven’t made in years,” Wilkes said. “But we needed to recover the cost of technological upgrades.”

The PUC governs utility prices, which can only increase with its approval.

Comments or question can be directed to Greeley Gas at (303) 861-8080. Written objections should be mailed to 1580 Logan St. Office Level No. 2, Denver CO.

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