Business, Energy, State Government

Hope Gas proposes $6.08 monthly residential rate hike in new PSC filing

MORGANTOWN — Hope Gas residential customers could see their bill rise by $6.08 per month under a proposal submitted to the Public Service Commission.

The figure is included in Hope’s annual Pipeline Replacement and Expansion Program (PREP) filing.

The hike represents a 6.34% increase for residential customers. Hope wants to have its new rates effective Nov. 1.

Additionally, West Virginia residents who’ve recently become Hope customers through Hope’s acquisition of other companies would also see hikes. Former People’s Gas customers would see their bills rise $6.41 per month, 6.1%; Southern Public Service Company, $4.54, 7.03%; Standard/Bazzle Gas, $5.13, 7.36%.

Other types of customers, such as commercial and industrial, would also see increases under the proposal.

A Hope residential gas bill shows two sets of charges: the monthly service charge of $21.51, and the gas usage charge (also called commodity charge) of $11.63 per 1,000 cubic feet (mcf). Hope proposes to keep the same service charge but increase the usage charge to $12.071 per mcf.

The hike covers two Hope programs: its General Program for its core distribution system and its Gathering Program for gathering facilities. For this year, Hope projects to spend $64,037,752 for the General Program and $2,500,000 for the Gathering Program.

For 2025, the projected General Program investment is $62,537,752 and the Gathering Program is $3 million.

This year’s filing is a bit more complex than last year’s because Hope also proposes to change the name of its PREP to Gathering Replacement and Expansion Program (GREP), reflecting some new priorities and shifts in how it determines its rates.

Hope proposes to recover its GREP costs in its other annual filing: its 2024 Purchased Gas Application, which gas companies are required to file annually to account for the cost of the natural gas they buy and distribute.

Hope expects to file the PGA in July, it told the PSC in this filing. Its projected annual investment in gathering facility related projects would increase to $30 million. And Hope proposes to abandon in place or transfer to other companies certain gathering pipelines that it acquired from other companies and are no longer necessary or useful. Customers served by these lines would be switched to propane.

Two Hope officials — Jo Carol Farmer, senior vice president Regulatory Affairs and Government Relations, and Jeffrey S. Nehr, senior vice president Gas Supply and Corporate Development — explained to the PSC more about the change from PREP to GREP.

The Gathering Program under PREP covers facilities acquired from Dominion. Under GREP, Hope plans to recover costs associated with buying pipelines from Equitrans.

Farmer said, “The name GREP better reflects the fact that Hope is taking a more comprehensive, in-depth approach to and focus on not only making capital investment in its gathering facilities but also making only those strategic capital investments that are economical, based specifically on various fact scenarios present on those gathering facilities.”

Nehr said GREP spending will satisfy three objectives: economically serve Hope customers by reducing operating costs; maintaining safe, reliable service, including by connecting to additional gas supply sources; and maintain and expand facilities to serve unserved and underserved communities.


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