PORTLAND, OR--(Marketwire - September 2, 2010) -  Northwest Natural Gas Company, dba NW Natural (NYSE: NWN), today filed its initial request with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) for a rate decrease to reflect gas purchases for the upcoming year that begins November 1.

If the initial request is approved as filed, rates would decrease by 0.8 percent for residential customers and 1 percent for commercial customers. The average homeowner using 59 therms would see an average decrease of about 53 cents a month. The average commercial customer would see a reduction of about $3.01 a month. 

As part of the regulatory process, the company files a final rate change request in early October to reflect the most recent gas purchases.

"Barring any extreme events, we expect prices to stay low as we continue to buy supplies for the coming heating season, which should reduce the numbers even more for our final filing this October," said Randy Friedman, Director of Gas Supply.

Once the final filing is approved by regulators, the rate adjustment will take effect Nov. 1, 2010.

Each year, gas utilities file adjusted rates with state regulators, based primarily on the cost of buying natural gas for customers. Gas prices fell substantially in 2009, allowing NW Natural to lower rates by 21.5 percent in Washington.

"A slow economy and abundant domestic gas supplies have helped hold down wholesale gas costs over the last two years, allowing us to buy low and pass those savings on to our customers," said Gregg Kantor, President and CEO. "This heating season NW Natural customers will be paying about the same prices as they did in 2004. We're pleased we can offer this kind of value, and we'll continue to do everything we can to hold down costs."

NW Natural does not mark up the cost of gas, passing the commodity price of natural gas directly on to customers with no additional fees or profit margin.

About NW Natural
NW Natural Gas Company, dba NW Natural (NYSE: NWN), is headquartered in Portland, Ore., and serves approximately 670,000 residential and business customers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. It is the largest independent natural gas utility in the Pacific Northwest. For more information about NW Natural, please visit www.nwnatural.com

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