Calling Upon State Regulatory Authorities to resist the efforts of Local Gas Distribution Companies to expand the interpretation of gas cost to include a calculated portion of their uncollectible accounts expense or other non-gas costs in purchased gas cost recovery mechanisms.
Whereas, many natural gas Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) are permitted by State laws or regulations to change rates from time to time to track changes in the cost of natural gas supply and transportation through gas cost adjustments without a review of general rates;
Whereas, many such gas cost adjustment mechanisms provide for the periodic adjustment of rates to true up the difference between gas costs billed to consumers and gas costs incurred;
Whereas, the gas cost adjustment mechanisms have been found justified due to characteristics of the costs associated with purchasing and transporting gas to an LDC’s distribution system; i.e., that such cost may make up a sizable portion of the total rate for natural gas service, that such costs are affected by many market conditions that are not within the control of the LDC, that such gas costs are volatile and may change significantly in a short time;
Whereas, some State regulatory authorities have been petitioned by LDCs to broaden the sort of expenses that may be recovered through gas cost adjustment mechanisms to include a portion of the expenses associated with uncollectible charges experienced by the LDC;
Whereas, the characteristics of uncollectible accounts are materially different from gas costs; i.e., while they are somewhat affected by variations in rates caused by changes in gas costs, uncollectible accounts expenses do not make up a sizeable portion of the total rate for natural gas service, they are affected by factors such as staffing and procedures within the control of the LDC, and the changes in uncollectible costs do not tend to be volatile;
Whereas, an expanded definition of gas costs would shift more risk to ratepayers and may remove traditional or performance based incentives for utilities to minimize costs;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NASUCA encourages state regulatory authorities to limit the use of gas cost adjustment mechanisms to the cost of purchasing and transporting natural gas supply to the LDC’s distribution system.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Gas Committee of NASUCA, with the approval of the Executive Committee of NASUCA, is authorized to take all steps consistent with this Resolution in order to secure its implementation.
Approved by NASUCA:
Place: Austin, Texas
Date: June 15, 2004