Northwest Natural 2024 Rate Increase

NW Natural Asks for 18% Rate Increase

This could mean customers pay over 50% more for gas bills than in 2020.

This year, NW Natural is asking to raise rates by 18% for residential customers. Overall, customers could see an increase of $169.68 per year. With the proposed increase, winter bills alone would go up $22.73 a month for an average household. Customers could face an average heating bill of $150 per month next winter. 

To learn more check out the Oregon Citizens Utility Board Website

What Customers Could Expect in 2024-25 Bills

Residential customers could see an increase of an added $170 per year for typical households. The proposed 18% increase would increase winter bills by $22.73 per month. NW Natural households could face average winter bills of $150 per month.

NW Natural Homes Are Paying 50% More Than in 2020

Gas prices have skyrocketed over the past five years. In 2020, an average NW Natural household paid $550.52 per year in gas bills. In 2024, that number is expected to jump to $823.75. If this increase is approved, an average NW Natural home could pay $1122.82 annually in 2025 -- up more than 50% since 2020.

We Need a Cap on Rate Increases

The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) is proposing a new way of regulating how utilities can increase bills. CUB is proposing that the Oregon Public Utility Commission put a cap on rate increases. We are asking the Commission to limit rate increases to 7% plus inflation or 10%, whichever is lowest. This cap would apply to the cumulative increase customers see over the course of a year. Any requests over that cap would be pushed into the next year or beyond.

What is Included in This Rate Increase

  • More Profits: NW Natural is attempting to increase its profits by over a million per year. NW Natural is asking to increase profit margins from 9.4% to 10.1%.
  • Expanding Subsidies for Growing the Gas System: In 2022, state regulators ordered that NW Natural must reduce the number of customer dollars it spends on expanding its gas system. This subsidy encourages new homes to be built with gas. NW Natural is now trying to increase the subsidy to up to $3600 per hookup. This is a 25% increase from what regulators struck down not even two years ago. Expanding this subsidy could cost customers tens of millions per year.
  • Higher Costs for Customers in New Buildings: NW Natural is attempting to create a new billing structure where customers in buildings with new gas hookups pay almost 200% more than existing gas customers. A customer in a building added to the system after Nov 2024 would pay a $26.25 flat fee vs. $10 for customers in existing buildings. 
  • Investments: NW Natural is proposing several infrastructure investments go into customers’ bills this year. These include software upgrades ($21 mil), office building upgrades ($13.3 mil), and pipe replacement in the North Coast Feeder ($9 mil).

Accounting Changes: NW Natural is proposing a change that would limit the timeline for customers paying for new investments to the useful life of the infrastructure itself. While this accounting is generally something that CUB supports, the huge cost for this accounting change ($34 mil) in the short term is concerning.

To learn more check out the Oregon Citizens Utility Board Website