Settlement in principle reached in latest Hope Gas acquisition

CHARLESTON, W. Va.  — All parties in the latest Hope Gas acquisition have reached a settlement in principle and will file those details with the state Public Service Commission in the next two weeks.

Kurt Krieger

Hope Gas announced plans last October to acquire the service for a total of 460 customers in Lewis County currently served by Standard Gas Co. and Bazzle Gas Co. and 70 customers of McIntosh Oil & Gas, Inc. and Ross and Wharton Gas, Co.

At a hearing Wednesday before the PSC, Hope Gas attorney Kurt Krieger said the settlement includes consistent pricing through the next scheduled rate increase for Hope.

“In both cases, the base and the PGA (purchased gas adjustment) rates are consistent with our prior acquisitions, and the base rate arrangement they would pay remains in place until the effective date of Hope’s next set of base rates,” Krieger said.

During that period, Krieger said Hope has agreed to increase their contribution to the West Virginia Utility Assistance Program, the Dollar Energy Fund.

“Hope Gas, Inc., has agreed to make an additional contribution to the Dollar Energy Fund for the amount of legacy surcharge revenues collected from Standard and Bazzle customers through that period of time, that is, until the legacy surcharge ends with the effective date of the next base rates,” Krieger said.

The settlement will also include assurances that the Standard wells, which make up 14% of production, will be reserved for the customers in acquisition to ease concerns about gas supply.

“Standard current owners who will continue to own Standard because this is an asset acquisition,” Krieger said. “They will commit those wells that currently make up that 14 percent to those customers.”

State Consumer Advocate Robert Williams said his office is reserving the right to look at the final numbers before agreeing to the details of the increases for the customers.

PSC Chairwoman Charlotte Lane told all parties she expected more details on the settlement but said she will expect to see those details when the details of the settlement are released in two weeks.

There was an evidentiary hearing scheduled in the case Wednesday but it was cut short by the proposed settlement announcement.





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