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The Public Service Commission (PSC) of West Virginia is expecting slightly lower gas utility bills across the state for the upcoming heating season.

The release said natural gas utilities that serve more than 91 percent of the natural gas customers in the state have filed requests with the PSC to lower the purchased gas portion of their rates.

Mountaineer Gas Company has asked for a decrease of 3.91 percent, and Hope Gas/Dominion Energy has requested a decrease of 8.87 percent.

The release said five companies, serving 8.5 percent of residential natural gas customers, have requested an increase in their purchased gas prices due to under-recovery of gas costs in 2018, and in some cases, projected higher gas prices being charged by their suppliers.

While the PSC does not regulate the price of natural gas, the Commission does examine the gas purchasing practices of gas utilities and ensures the utility satisfies its burden to show that dependable, lower-priced gas supplies are not readily available.

By law, gas utilities are permitted to recover their costs to purchase natural gas, the release said. The gas rates of customers are adjusted annually to account for the cost of gas in a process called a Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA) proceeding before the PSC.  

— Wendy Holdren

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