NW Natural reports $7.4M loss, cuts rates 2 percent

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Reduced natural gas use over the summer caused a loss of $7.4 million, or 28 cents per share, for NW Natural Gas Co. in the quarter ending Sept. 30, the company reported Friday. The loss follows a seasonal pattern of reduced gas usage during the summer months. NW Natural reported a loss of $6.7 million, or 25 cents per share, during the same quarter in 2009. The company remains profitable so far this year with a net income of $43.1 million, or $1.62 per share.

Washington residential customers will see a 2 percent rate decrease starting Nov. 1, resulting in an average savings of $1.23 per month, according to NW Natural. The rate cut is larger than the 0.8 percent predicted in September thanks to the continued decline of wholesale natural gas prices, said NW Natural spokeswoman Kim Heiting. Commercial rates will also decrease by 2.1 percent, or an average savings of $6.16 per month for business customers, according to the company.