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Natural gas rates go up, but not as much as requested

Natural gas prices for NW Natural customers will rise 1.3 percent on Nov. 1, under a preliminary decision announced Monday by the Oregon Public Utility Commission.

The gas company had requested a 6 percent increase, which would have raised an additional $43.7 million from customers. Instead, the PUC granted a smaller increase, which will provide an additional $8.7 million to the Portland-based utility.

“This was an extremely complex and difficult case to resolve,” Commission Chair Susan Ackerman stated in a press release. “However, I am confident this decision strikes a fair balance between the needs of customers and the company.”

Ackerman said the increase will likely be more than offset by a drop in wholesale natural gas prices that will also take effect Nov. 1. The PUC expects to make that decision on Oct. 31.