Retail Unbundling - West Virginia

 

Status: In theory, all residential customers in the state are allowed to choose natural gas suppliers, but all customers still purchase gas from a local distribution company (LDC) because no marketers in the state are offering merchant services that would be an alternative.


Overview: Unbundled service has been “on the books” 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. According to the Public Utility Commission of West Virginia and LDCs representatives in the state, there are currently no marketers or aggregators active in the state and no residential customers received unbundled service in 2004. Based on the most recent Energy Information Administration data for 2003, only 10 of the state's 360,759 residential customers were receiving unbundled service. In 1996, the Public Utility Commission 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 2003, West Virginia had 360,022 residential customers who consumed 33 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas at an average price of $8.92 per thousand cubic feet. The commercial market was much smaller, at 26 Bcf and 35,113 consumers. The average price paid by commercial customers for natural gas purchased from LDCs was $8.05 per thousand cubic feet.

 

Eligibility/Participation in Retail Choice Programs:


Status as of December 2004: Number of Customers

  

Customer Type

Total 2003

Eligible in 2004

Participating in 2004

Total

Percent of 2003 Total

Total

Percent of Eligible

Percent of 2003 Total

Residential

360,022

360,022

100

0

0

0

Commercial

35,113

35,113

100

425

1.2

1.2

Total

395,135

395,135

100

425

0.1

0.1

Sources: Total 2003: Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Annual 2003 (December 2004). Eligibility and Participation: Public Utility Commission of West Virginia.

 

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File last modified: 01/31/2005