Retail Unbundling - West Virginia

Status: All residential customers in the state are allowed to choose natural gas suppliers.

Overview: Unbundled service has been available to all natural gas customers in West Virginia since 1986. Under Senate Bill 117, passed in 1983, intrastate pipeline companies and local distribution companies (LDCs) were required to be common carriers. The procedural laws were completed in 1986 and covered all customer classes. In order to receive unbundled service, customers must install metering equipment or pay standby charges. As of December 2001, only 21 of the state's 360,471 residential customers were receiving unbundled service. In 1996, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of West Virginia initiated a general investigation into ways to make customer choice easier by pooling customers, and filed proposed rules in June 1998. Currently, pooling arrangements are permitted only for interruptible customers (generally industrial or large-volume commercial users).

EIA State Data: In 2000, West Virginia had 360,471 residential customers who consumed 32 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas at an average price of $7.46 per thousand cubic feet. The commercial market was much smaller, at 26 Bcf and 41,949 consumers. The average price paid by commercial customers for natural gas purchased from LDCs was $6.58 per thousand cubic feet. The average city gate price in the state was $3.75 per thousand cubic feet.

Eligibility/Participation in Retail Choice Programs:

Status as of December 2001: Number of Customers
Customer Type

Total 2000




Percent of 2000 Total


Percent of Eligible

Percent of 2000 Total

Residential 360,471 360,471 100 21 0.01 0.01
Commercial 41,949 41,949 100 899 2.1 2.1
Total 402,420 402,420 100 920 0.2 0.2

Sources: Total 2000: Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Annual 2000 (November 2001). Eligibility and Participation: Public Utility Commission of West Virginia (December 2001).

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File last modified: 06/19/2002