A recession-era drop in industrial demand for natural gas combined with a surplus of supply from drilling in shale gas formations have caused gas prices to drop.
Utilities' gas costs are estimated ahead of time and built into rates without a markup. If the estimates turn out to be dramatically different from market reality, ratepayers might see an adjustment later.
The state's largest gas utility, NW Natural, for example, refunded $36 million to customers this time last year and lowered rates by 16 percent in November as falling demand and a surplus of supplies and stored inventories translated to plunging prices.
Read more at OregonLive.com.