Carson-Douglas natural gas prices go down

The average homeowner's gas bill will drop about $16 a month if the Public Utilities Commission approves new rates for Southwest Gas Co. as expected Friday

That applies to more than 100,000 northern Nevada customers of the company, which provides natural gas service to Carson City, Douglas County, the Tahoe Basin, Truckee and everywhere else in the north except Reno and Sparks.

Roger Buehrer of Southwest Gas said falling rates made it possible to cut gas prices 14.2 percent.

For the average customer, northern Nevada gas bills should drop from $113.96 to $97.87 beginning in November.

Eric Witkoski of the Consumer Protection Bureau said the utility first applied to keep rates the same but that the attorney general's office challenged that because prices have been dropping for most of the past six months.

The PUC will meet Friday morning to officially approve the lower rates.

Witkoski said the negotiated reduction takes effect immediately and should provide welcome relief for consumers who were hard hit by high rates last winter.

"It was painful last winter and it's still a little high," he said advising customers to continue trying to conserve gas.

Buehrer agreed the reduction was made possible because the market price for gas, especially in the north, has dropped substantially since April.

He said half of northern Nevada's gas comes from Canada and, "there's been some very inexpensive gas coming out of Canada."

"What this does is pass those savings on to our customers because gas costs are dollar-for-dollar pass through," he said. "The company makes money on the services we provide, not on the cost of gas."


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