| Today, Intermountain Gas Company (Intermountain) filed its annual purchased gas cost adjustment application with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC). This type of application is filed each year to ensure that the costs that Intermountain is incurring on behalf of its customers are properly reflected in its sales price.
In its application, Intermountain requests permission to increase its prices to reflect the higher prices that Intermountain must pay to its natural gas suppliers.
William C. Bill Glynn, President of Intermountain Gas Company, said, Natural gas is a commodity whose price fluctuates as supply and demand changes, just like the price of other commodities, most notably potatoes here in Idaho. After enjoying prices this past winter that were approximately 30% below year earlier prices, producer prices have increased. We expect another down cycle to occur but it is uncertain as to whether this will occur before next winter. Should they change before then, the company will ask the IPUC to adjust our retail price accordingly.
Glynn said, Even at these higher producer prices, natural gas in Southern Idaho will still be 35% - 55% less than electricity.
The Company is not requesting any change in the price component for its own service, operation, maintenance, or capital costs, which has remained the same for almost 20 years. Therefore the Companys earnings will not increase as a result of the proposed price changes.
Glynn went on to say, Although we have just experienced the warmest winter on record in the past 30 years, Intermountain encourages all its customers to be conscious of their energy usage. We continue to work with the local agencies that administer energy assistance funds to help those residential customers whose incomes are most impacted by higher energy prices." Helpful tips on ways to conserve and use energy wisely and how to request energy assistance are provided through bill inserts and on the Companys website
If this proposed increase is approved, residential customers using natural gas for heating and water heating could experience an average monthly increase of $18 (38%). Those residential customers using natural gas for space heating only could experience an average monthly increase of $12 (33%). Commercial customers could experience an average monthly increase of $78 (43%).
If approved as filed, The total net revenue increase from this current request will be approximately $61 million (38%) and is proposed to be effective July 1, 2003. This proposal is subject to public review and approval by the IPUC. A copy of Intermountains application is available at the offices of both the Idaho Public Utilities Commission and the Company.