The impacts of a natural gas explosion this fall in British Columbia are likely to be felt by residents here soon in the form of price increases.

Cascade Natural Gas is proposing a 17.21 percent rate increase next year to cover higher gas prices, an impact of an October pipeline incident in British Columbia.

If approved by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, the company’s increase will add $9.23 to the average monthly bill for residential customers, Cascade Natural Gas Spokesman Mark Hanson said Friday.

“The pipeline is not back up to 100 percent capacity yet, and as part of that constraint on supply, the market has reacted by increasing the cost,” he said.

The increase is a straight pass-through of costs, meaning the customer pays what the company pays for gas, he said.

A natural gas line operated by Canadian company Enbridge in Prince George, north of Vancouver, B.C., exploded Oct. 10 and affected supply in the Pacific Northwest.

Hanson said the company draws gas from other sources, too, including in the Rocky Mountains, and also keeps some in storage.

“There’s not as much extra volume that can be put into storage, as well, and that’s driving the price,” he said.

Anacortes refineries were forced to shut down units as a safety measure after the incident. Shell Puget Sound Refinery External Relations Manager Cory Ertel said in an email Friday natural gas supply and operations have returned to normal.

Load comments