Gas bills dropping for winter

As temperatures fall in the Las Vegas Valley, utility customers will soon catch a break on gas bills.

The typical Southern Nevada natural gas customer will see his winter bill drop by about $7 starting Nov. 1 because of action taken by state regulators on Wednesday.

The Public Utilities Commission voted 3-0 to reduce gas rates by about 8.6 percent because prices have declined.

A residential customer who uses an average of 6,600 cubic feet of gas will pay $78.46 a month, a decrease of $7.34 from the $85.80 now charged for that quantity of gas. The decrease is $8.06 when compared with gas rates a year ago.

“We feel that the customer will benefit from a decision in this rate just in time for when winter heating months come to Southern Nevada,” said Southwest Gas spokeswoman Cynthia Messina.

Southwest Gas is scheduled to make another adjustment in gas rates effective Feb. 1, depending on the cost of the fuel. While it’s hard to predict gas prices, the market price of gas from the San Juan Basin of New Mexico has been relatively stable in recent months, according to the Intercontinental Exchange.

In other action Wednesday, the utilities commission approved a report from Nevada Power Co. and Sierra Pacific Power Co. on compliance with the renewable portfolio standard set by the Nevada Legislature. Nevada Power of Las Vegas last year failed for the fourth consecutive year to obtain a minimum 9 percent of power from solar, wind and other renewable resources, as required under state law.

Sierra Pacific Power Co. of Reno, which gets large quantities of renewable power from geothermal power plants, complied with the overall 9 percent standard but did not meet requirement for solar power for 2006.

Nevada Power is expected to satisfy the solar portion of the renewable requirement for 2007 because of new solar plants in Boulder City and Nellis Air Force Base. If Nevada Power sells solar credits to Sierra Pacific Power for solar power, Sierra Pacific Power may meet the solar standard as well for 2007.

Contact reporter John G. Edwards at jedwards@reviewjournal.com or (702) 383-0420.

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