You've heard talk lately about the convergence of electricity and natural gas. That idea has grown as commodity markets have matured for gas and emerged for bulk power.
The Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) has authorized Montana Power Co. (a combined electric and natural gas utility), to increase base rates for gas distribution by $3.01 million, subject to refund. The increase reflects a cost of common equity of 11 percent and an overall rate of return on gas operations of 9.49 percent.
The PSC disallowed $287,000 in investment by the utility in compressed natural gas vehicle refueling facilities, noting that it had not yet addressed the issue that such facilities were "critical to Montana ratepayers." Re Montana Power Co., Docket No. D95.9.128, Order No. 5865b, Feb. 14, 1996 (Mont.P.S.C.).
In a companion interim order, the PSC directed the utility to reduce its gas rates by $4.9 million to reflect a decline in the overall cost of the company's gas supplies from $1.096 per Mcf for core customers last year to $0.98 this year. Re Montana Power Co., Docket No. D95.9.128, Order No. 5865b, Feb. 14, 1996 (Mont.P.S.C.).
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