Enstar: Gas prices will decrease slightly
After a 30 percent increase this year, Enstar Natural Gas Co. customers can expect a slight decrease in the price of gas next year, according to company officials.
Enstar, which provides gas to about 345,000 Alaskans, plans to reduce its rates by about 2 percent next year. That should equate to an average household savings of $2 or $3 each month, the company said.
When gas rates jumped this year, it prompted customers to cut back on the amount of gas they use, said Enstar spokesman Curtis Thayer, which in turn played a role in the proposed price reduction for 2008.
“We overestimated how much gas we were going to need, and what we already paid for, so now the customers get that back,” he said.
Enstar’s rates are based on two numbers, Thayer said. One is how much the company pays for gas, and the other is how much it is allowed to charge for administrative costs, profit and delivering the gas to homes.
Last year’s large increase was entirely due to the rising cost of the natural gas it bought, he said. Another reason for the proposed savings next year is that oil and gas companies overestimated how much in taxes they would need to collect under a new state tax structure, so gas customers could see the resulting rebate shaved from next year’s bills, Thayer said.
Enstar is asking the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, which decides whether utilities can change their rates, to approve the rate reduction. Thayer said he expects the commission will approve the request.
—The Associated Press