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Utah commission approves Enbridge plan to cut natural gas rate by nearly 30%

Jul 9, 2024, 1:39 PM

Enbridge Gas Utah's new rates, a reduction of about 30%, went into effect this month, according to ...

Enbridge Gas Utah's new rates, a reduction of about 30%, went into effect this month, according to the company. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — While Utah power bills could surge by 30% in the coming years, Utah’s primary natural gas provider is scaling back its rates.

The Utah Public Service Commission approved Enbridge Gas Utah’s plan to cut its natural gas rate by nearly 30%, which went into effect last week, according to the company. Enbridge officials explained Monday that the measure was made based on estimated natural gas prices conducted by third-party entities.

Customers are expected to see the rate change reflected in their bills later this month or in early August. The company estimates that the average residential customer will save about $23.12 every month, which translates to a little more than $275 in annual savings.

Utah’s rate is now one of the “lowest in the nation,” said Judd Cook, vice president and general manager of Enbridge’s Utah branch.

“Over the last few years we have seen record-high natural gas costs. We know that has had an impact on our customers,” he said in a statement. “Affordability is extremely important and we work hard to pass on the savings from natural gas cost decreases as soon as possible to those we serve.”

Enbridge, based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, became Utah’s primary natural gas provider last month when its $4.3 billion deal to acquire Questar and Wexpro from Dominion Energy was finalized. The entities oversee about 21,000 system miles of natural gas pipelines across Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.

Officials explain that rates are adjusted at least twice every year, so it’s unclear how long the savings will last. Historic Utah Public Service Commission data shows that rates are typically adjusted around the summer and winter, although it’s rare to see a rate change by 30%.

The rate decrease comes as Utah power utility bills could go up by about 30% by 2026. Rocky Mountain Power officials said they are mulling the rate increase to account for recent capital improvement projects and inflation that has occurred since the company’s last increase in 2020.

That request drew criticism from Gov. Spencer Cox, who called it “completely unacceptable.” But Rocky Mountain Power spokesman David Eskelsen said the company believes its actions have been “reasonable and prudent” in response to rising costs.

The Utah Public Service Commission is expected to vote on the electricity rate change in the coming months.

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Utah commission approves Enbridge plan to cut natural gas rate by nearly 30%