Pacific Northern Gas dropped some unwelcome news on residents of the Northwest this week, the cost of natural gas is going to go up, just as we hit the traditionally colder parts of the year and when our usage increases incrementally.
In a detailed story in the Terrace Standard, PNG ties the increase in gas pricing to the recent closure of the Methanex plant in Kitimat. Methanex was a huge user of PNG's product and without that corporate cash flow coming in, the gas company finds itself a bit behind the eight ball financially.
The closure of the methanol plant meant that PNG needed to find an increased revenue stream of 5.16 million dollars, the bulk of which will come from the furnaces of the Northwest. We can expect an increase on the delivery charge to our homes over the year of 28% on our natural gas bill. That's not counting any unexpected increases from suppliers due to world conditions, which as we know are most times beyond our control.
The request for an increase is proving to be a tad controversial, as PNG had previously said that the closure of the Methanex plant would not have an impact on residential and commercial bills for a three year period. At the time, Methanex had said that Northwest residents should be cushioned from price increases until 2009. With the application to the BC Utilities Commission the Northwest gas utility is suggesting that they might have been a little over optimistic when they made that original statement.
Perhaps it's time to take advantage of those New Year's sweater sales at the likes of Marks Work Wearhouse, Zellers and such. Keeping the layers on and the thermostat down should help to keep some of your cash in your pockets and out of those of PNG.