- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Senate President Jeff Kessler’s office is looking into the state Public Service Commission’s decision to approve higher natural gas prices.

Kessler told The Parkersburg News and Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1oakW75 ) he will review rate increases for Mountaineer Gas and Peoples Gas customers.

The PSC announced the rate hikes in a news release last week. They take effect Nov. 1.

The commission says Hope Gas customers will see a rate decrease, however.

Mountaineer Gas says it will make no profit off the increased purchase price.

“The year we are in right now, we estimated low,” Larry Meador, Mountaineer Gas spokesman, told the newspaper. “The companies are allowed to recover that difference. We’ve got that plus the small expected increase in natural gas prices.”

Since there is ample supply of natural gas, Kessler questioned how the increases make sense under the basic law of supply and demand.

“How are rates, in a state that is sitting on a mother lode of natural gas, going up for residents?” Kessler said.

Officials say gas rates have dropped for eight straight years. PSC spokeswoman Susan Small said the commission thoroughly vets rate requests.

“The PSC is charged with looking into the rates. We could always ask for a reconsideration,” Kessler said. “I just want to make sure any increases are justified.”


Information from: News and Sentinel (Parkersburg, W.Va.), https://www.newsandsentinel.com

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