Energy, State Government

Some Cardinal Gas customers could see tiny rate cut under new filing with PSC

MORGANTOWN – Cardinal Natural Gas customers in Preston, Marion and Harrison counties are awaiting the final decision on a proposed rate hike, but that hike could be offset a smidgen under a new filing that proposes a slight rate decrease.

Thursday’s filing with the state Public Service Commission proposes a 33-cent monthly decrease in the average bill to account for excess revenue – called an over-recovery – from Cardinal’s Infrastructure Replacement and Expansion Program (IREP) in Kingwood.

The project to extend service to an unserved portion of Preston County took in $5,487 more than necessary in 2023 and the proposed decrease is a 0.25% reduction in the current rate.

Cardinal has two divsions, northern (Preston, Marion, Harrison and Monongalia) and southern (Mercer). The northern division has two territories:Lumberport-Shinnston and Blacksville.

Cardinal notes that Blacksville is not included in the proposed rate cut because it has not undertaken any IREP improvements there.

The cut, if approved by the PSC, would take effect Sept. 1.

Cardinal Vice President John D. Jessee said in testimony included in the filing that the Kingwood Walmart has not yet become a customer and is not expected to in the near future.

Connecting Walmart, he said, would require about 2,000 feet of new line. It doesn’t appear probable that Cardinal will receive a commitment from Walmart to become a customer during the next IREP period or that Cardinal will complete construction of the needed infrastructure.

Rate hike case

Cardinal filed an overall base rate case with the PSC on March 27. It covers both divisions.

Cardinal is asking for a total $370,911 increase for the northern division – an overall 5.92% increase.

Blacksville residential customers would see an $8.41 monthly increase, 10.36%. Blacksville customers receiving the 20% discount rate would see their monthly bills rise $6.73, also 10.36%.

Lumberport-Shinnston customers would see a smaller increase: $7.28, 6.59%. Customers with the 20% discount would see a $5.82 increase, also 6.59%.

Cardinal says the rate hikes stem from increased operating costs. The proposed hikes would take effect Jan. 21, 2025.