CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Dominion Energy West Virginia (DEWV) filed an application on Wednesday with the Public Service Commission requesting an increase to its base rates for natural gas service.
A press release from Dominion stated that in its 2018 pipeline replacement and expansion program (PREP) case, DEWV committed to filing a base rate case in 2020.
“For generations, DEWV customers have depended on us to provide affordable, safe and reliable natural gas service to their homes and businesses,” said Jim Eck, Vice President & General Manager, West Virginia Distribution. “We do not take this responsibility lightly and this adjustment to our base rate is key to our continued ability to deliver on this commitment and expectation.”
The release stated that if the base rate increase is approved, the monthly bill for a typical residential customer who uses on average, 6.5 mcf per month, would increase by $8.58. The $12.17 gross monthly bill increase reflected in the filing is due to the partial offset and simultaneous change in the PREP rate, the other main component of customers’ monthly bills, according to the release.
DEWV officials said it is expected that the commission will suspend the new rates by procedural order, and thus new base rates would be effective in July 2021.
Since the last rate review, the company has made significant investments in assets and operating resources to serve an expanding customer base; maintain the safety, reliability and efficiency of its system; and meet increasingly stringent reliability, security and environmental requirements, the release stated.
Approximately one third of the base rate increase relates to DEWV’s recent acquisition of natural gas gathering pipeline facilities in order to preserve and improve reliable natural gas service to nearly 10,000 of its existing farm tap customers – an acquisition previously approved by the Public Service Commission in May 2020, according to the release. The proposed base rate adjustment is consistent with increases that other West Virginia gas utilities have experienced over the last decade. Natural gas continues to be an affordable energy option for West Virginians, DEWV officials said in the release.
“This rate change reflects wise and prudent investments DEWV has made over the last decade while looking to the future as we sustain our legacy of service in the Mountain State,” Eck said.