House passes bill to encourage natural gas use

Published: Wednesday, March 13 2013 10:35 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — The House passed a bill Wednesday that would allow Questar Gas to recover up to $5 million annually from ratepayers to cover the utility’s investments to encourage more Utahns to convert their vehicles to compressed natural gas.

“If we’re going to make a quantum leap in air quality, it’s not free,” said bill sponsor Rep. Jack Draxler, R-North Logan.

Draxler said it is premature to know whether there will be an rate increase for Questar customers.

“If there was a rate increase,” he said, “it would be extremely minimal, and I’m talking about 12 cents a month.”

Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, proposed an amendment to lift the $5 million annual cap, saying the state needs to let Questar “look at what is the appropriate amount to spend in a fiscal year.” The amendment failed.

Representatives on both sides of the aisle echoed the concerns of Rep. James Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, who said the amendment would give the gas company a blank check to spend whatever it wanted without any criteria.

Because the bill was amended in the House, it now returns to the Senate.

Mary Mellor

Try out the new DeseretNews.com design!
try beta learn more
Get The Deseret News Everywhere