NW Natural Launches Bring the Heat Music Video Contest

Portland, OR – Today marks the launch of NW Natural’s Bring the Heat Music Video Contest. The contest runs through December and provides participants a chance to create a unique music video about the benefits of using natural gas for a chance to win one of several prizes. The grand prize is a new gas burning furnace or fireplace. Magneto Brand Advertising worked with NW Natural to develop marketing materials designed to promote the contest. Magneto’s work included naming the contest, creating its look and feel, designing promotional materials including posters and bar coasters, and shooting a fun satirical “mockumentary” style video featuring a couple making their own entry video for the contest. The posters and coaster will be distributed at selected bars and restaurants around the Portland metro area and the video can now be seen on NW Natural’s OFFERS website.


Northwest Industrial Gas Users Announce Appointment of Finklea as Exec. Director

PORTLAND, OR- The Northwest Industrial Gas Users (NWIGU) announced today the appointment of Ed Finklea to the position of Executive Director effective immediately. Finklea will lead the members of NWIGU in developing strategies and implementing policies and regulatory actions impacting the natural gas industry in the Pacific Northwest. Finklea has an in depth understanding of natural gas markets and the regulation of natural gas pipelines and local distribution companies; serving as legal counsel to NWIGU for many years.  He has also worked for natural gas utilities and the federal government as an energy attorney.

NWIGU is a non-profit trade association comprised of thirty-eight end-users of natural gas with major facilities in the States of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. NWIGU members include diverse end-user businesses, including food processing, pulp and paper, wood products, aluminum, steel, chemicals, electronics, hospital operations, electric generation and aerospace. The association provides an informational service to its members and participates in various regulatory matters that affect member interests.

Finklea replaces Paula Pyron, who is retiring from the position as Executive Director of NWIGU after successfully leading the group for over a decade.

Obama Outlines Future with Natural Gas

Washington, D.C. – In his acceptance for the Democratic nomination for president, Barack Obama clearly outlined a future where natural gas plays a role in the nation’s job creation and economic success. American Gas Association President and CEO Dave McCurdy released the following statement regarding Obama’s convention remarks:

“President Obama outlined a path towards robust development of America’s abundant natural gas supply and a full realization of the benefits of this clean energy source. The President envisioned a future where we ‘choose the path where we control more of our own energy.’ I agree that is the path to choose, and natural gas provides us with that opportunity.”

“U.S. consumers are already reaping the benefits of this abundant supply through affordable natural gas prices. Since 2008, American homeowners have saved a total of $250 billion on their natural gas utility bills. In 2012 alone, affordable energy has enabled American manufacturers to announce billions of dollars in new investments here at home. Through continued investments in American technology such as combined heat and power, fuel cells and natural gas vehicles, we can fully realize the unique efficiency and of this foundation fuel.”

“Natural gas is contributing directly to the country’s economic recovery and producing new jobs throughout the nation. Natural gas utilities are an important employer in local communities and we are on path to the President’s goal of 600,000 new natural gas jobs by the end of this decade.”

“America’s natural gas distribution utilities, the companies that deliver natural gas to homes, businesses and industry across the nation, are working with their communities to deliver the promise of this clean, domestic energy source. Our members are building the 21st century infrastructure that this nation needs, providing the backbone for the secure energy future envisioned by the President. We share that vision. Continuing to invest in upgrades and expansion of natural gas infrastructure is crucial to realizing that goal for all American homes and businesses.”

“Both candidates have acknowledged the role of natural gas in our nation’s future, and AGA and its members will continue to collaborate with policymakers at all levels to help deliver this abundant, affordable, clean, efficient and domestic energy source to all Americans.”

Avista Makes Price Reduction Requests in Oregon

SPOKANE, WA – NWGA Member Avista Utilities’ 96,000 natural gas customers in Oregon could see an overall decrease of 10.7 percent in their natural gas rates by Jan. 1, 2013, if the Public Utility Commission of Oregon (PUC or Commission) approves the company’s annual Purchased Gas Cost Adjustment (PGA) and related filings made today.

PGAs are filed each year to balance the actual cost of wholesale natural gas purchased by Avista to serve customers with the amount included in rates. Abundant supplies of natural gas and continued soft demand for the commodity have continued to keep wholesale natural gas prices at lower levels over the past year. The company does not mark up the cost of natural gas purchased to meet customer needs, so there is no impact on company earnings.

“Each year, we propose to adjust the rates our customers pay so that customers’ bills better reflect our actual costs of purchasing natural gas,” said Dennis Vermillion, president of Avista Utilities. “Today’s requested rate reductions are largely due to lower natural gas prices, which is good news for our customers.”

“Our customers in Oregon have been seeing the benefits of increased natural gas supply and lower prices for some time. If this request is approved, including other rate adjustments proposed by Avista and approved by the Commission, our customers will have seen their rates decrease to near 2004 levels,” Vermillion said.

Included in the filing are the costs and savings related to Avista’s purchase of the Klamath Falls Lateral, a 15-mile, 6-inch transmission pipeline, currently owned and operated by Northwest Pipeline. The Klamath Falls Lateral interconnects with Gas Transmission Northwest to transport natural gas to serve Avista’s customers in Klamath Falls, Ore. The purchase of the lateral is expected to save customers approximately $1 million annually beginning in January 2013.

Avista also made two administrative filings today with the OPUC related to demand side management and intervener funding.

If all requests including the PGA are approved, rate adjustments would take place in two phases, with the first adjustment becoming effective Nov. 1, 2012, and the second adjustment taking effect Jan. 1, 2013.

An Avista residential customer using an average 47 therms a month could expect their bill to decrease by $5.78, or 9.3%, for a revised monthly bill of $56.22 beginning November 1, 2012. A residential customer using an average 47 therms a month would see an additional decrease of $0.50, beginning Jan. 1, 2013, for a total decrease of $6.28, or an overall decrease of 10.1%, for a revised monthly bill of $55.72. Other customer groups could also expect decreases in a similar range.

If all of the requests are approved, Avista’s natural gas revenues would decrease by $10.0 million, or 9.9% effective November 1, 2012, with an additional annual revenue decrease of $0.8 million, or 0.8% effective January 1, 2013. When combined together, effective January 1, 2013, Oregon annual revenues would decrease by $10.8 million or 10.7%.

The combined costs of purchasing natural gas on the wholesale market and transporting it to Avista’s system makes up about 55 percent of an Avista natural gas customer’s bill, and these costs fluctuate up and down based on market prices. These costs are passed through to customers through Avista’s PGA filings, and Avista does not mark these costs up. The remaining 45 percent covers the cost of delivering the natural gas — the equipment and people needed to provide safe and reliable service.

To help customers proactively manage their energy use, Avista offers a number of energy efficiency programs, including rebates and incentives. Visitwww.everylittlebit.com for information on the programs that helped Avista’s Oregon customers save enough energy in the past two years to serve almost 1,100 homes with natural gas.