Two states have decided to review the high cost of gas this past winter and the effect the price hike has had on the states' gas utilities.
Florida. While granting requested rate relief on an "expedited basis" to Florida Public Utilities Co., the Florida Public Service Commission said it would conduct a prudence review of the purchased gas costs during its next scheduled PGA audit proceeding.
The PSC has authorized the LDC to increase its purchased gas adjustment charge, acknowledging that futures forecasts had pushed natural gas prices up to the highest levels seen since the exchange began trading natural gas in 1990.
The local distribution company can increase its PGA by 27.814 cents per therm from its current level of 38.519 cents per therm to 66.333 cents per therm. The company said it had experienced "unanticipated increases in the commodity cost of gas" due primarily to colder-than-normal weather. The Mercantile Exchange forecast had pushed the price for natural gas deliveries in January 1997 up 16 percent to 44.67 cents per therm. It also said that cost increases are expected to continue through the remainder of the LDC's PGA true-up period. Re Purchased Gas Adjustment True-up, Docket No. 970003-GU, Order No. PSC-97-0216-FOF-GU, Feb. 24, 1987 (Fla.P.S.C.).
Illinois. The Illinois Commerce Commission plans to investigate the "significant increase in the price of gas" during the past winter months. Under a Notice of Inquiry, the commission will determine the ability of natural gas LDCs to anticipate the higher fuel prices and what measures the LDC might have taken to mitigate the effects on ratepayers. It will also review the effect of existing transportation service obligations on the LDCs' ability to mitigate the price swings. Initial comments must be filed by May 1, 1997. Notice of Inquiry, Docket 97-NOI-1, March 24, 1997 (Ill.C.C.).
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