Mountain Fuel Supply Co.'s request for rehearing of a recent rate case is being opposed by attorneys for the Utah Division of Public Utilities and the Utah Committee of Consumer Services.
Mountain Fuel wants the Utah Public Service Commission to reconsider its Nov. 21 order which awarded the company a $76,000 rate increase instead of the $10 million increase sought during the hearing. The commission has 20 days to decide whether to deny the company's request, schedule a hearing to further consider the request, set a new hearing, or ignore the request which would have the same effect as denying it.If the commission refuses to rehear the case, Mountain Fuel would have the option of appealing the rate order to the Utah Supreme Court.
Mountain Fuel's request for rehearing takes issue with almost every element of the commission order, especially the use of 1989 as the test year upon which future rates would be based. Mountain Fuel wanted the new rates based on what is called a "future" test year, designed in accordance with anticipated changes in the natural gas market.
The hearing was instigated by the commission and not the company. Commissioners felt a full rate case was needed because the company had not been through a full hearing since 1985. Since that time, natural gas rates had fallen steadily until the past year when they began stabilizing as the industry reached the end of what has been described as a "gas bubble" or oversupply in the market.
In opposing the rehearing request, the committee and division said the commission followed acceptable guidelines.