LAS VEGAS, April 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The Public Utilities Commission of
Nevada (PUCN) today (Friday) upheld the natural gas purchasing practices of
Southwest Gas (NYSE: SWX), rejecting a proposal by the Commission Staff that
would have disallowed $8.1 million in gas costs incurred by Southwest last
summer. There is no profit to the company from its gas purchases, which are
subject to review and approval by the PUCN.
The decision reaffirms the Commission's decision of last December when it
approved, subject to audit and possible adjustment, an increase of
$55.3 million to recover the unprecedented run-up in natural gas prices the
company experienced from June through September of 2000. As a result of that
decision, average residential bills increased about $7.60 a month in southern
Nevada on an annual basis and $13.29 a month in northern Nevada, effective
Jan. 1, 2001.
"The Commission's decision was most important as it validates the
company's efforts to purchase the lowest-cost reliable gas supplies
available," said Southwest Gas Vice President of Pricing Roger Montgomery.
"The entire industry, as well as the financial community, has been following
this case. We're pleased that the Commission has vindicated the company's gas
In the decision, PUCN Commissioner Adriana Escobar-Chanos wrote:
"Southwest could not have known at the time it constructed its gas portfolio
that gas prices would skyrocket in June, July, August and September of 2000...
The Commission concludes that Southwest was not imprudent in its gas
The Commission also directed Southwest, the Commission Staff and the
Bureau of Consumer Protection to propose guidelines for the company to follow
in constructing its gas supply portfolio for coming years. This was an issue
Southwest had agreed to during the hearing. The proposed guidelines are to be
submitted to the Commission within 120 days.
Southwest Gas provides natural gas service to more nearly 1.4 million
homes and businesses in its three-state service area including more than
500,000 throughout northern and southern Nevada.
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SOURCE Southwest Gas
Web site: http: //www.southwestgas.com
Company News On-Call: http: //www.prnewswire.com/comp/804969.html or fax, 800-758-5804, ext. 804969
CONTACT: Roger Buehrer, APR, 702-876-7132, for Southwest Gas