W.V. Regulator Clears Path for Natural Gas Vehicle Fueling

The Public Service Commission of West Virginia has approved a tariff request from Mountaineer Gas Co., the state's largest natural gas utility, that will enable the company to begin providing fuel for natural gas vehicles (NGVs) – and to offer incentives for getting on board as an NGV fuel customer.

Mountaineer Gas' tariff filing – initially submitted back in April – was proposed in response to customer inquiries about on-site service to support NGV fueling. As a matter of compliance, the utility needed to specify and obtain approval for the rates, terms and conditions associated with providing natural gas specifically for NGVs.

The new tariff implements a monthly charge of $9.95 for meters smaller than 250 cfh and $31.10 for meters that exceed 250 cfh. The commodity charge is $7.937 per Mcf, including a purchased gas cost of $4.913 per Mcf.

The filing refers to ‘NGV fueling stations,’ but the ruling is not limited to the traditional definition of a ‘station’ – e.g., a large, public-access facility. Any Mountaineer Gas customer that will be installing equipment designed to fuel NGVs – whether small-scale or expansive – is covered under the new tariff.

As a part of its proposal, Mountaineer Gas also requested approval to give customers a $1,000 bill credit to help offset the cost of natural gas refueling infrastructure (equipment and/or installation). The commission granted the request.

This incentive, while modest in the context of what it costs to develop a sophisticated fast-fill compressed natural gas (CNG) facility, is designed to nudge small fleets or other commercial users toward natural gas refueling. Smaller-scale, modular CNG equipment from companies such as Bauer Compressors, GE, Ingersoll Rand, Galileo, TruStar Energy and others are becoming more prevalent as NGV deployment grows.

The credit cannot be transferred among accounts and must be used within three years of being issued. Mountaineer Gas says it will verify that natural gas refueling equipment has been purchased and installed before issuing a credit.

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