Hermiston Gas Utility Department
Hermiston Gas Utility Department was formed on August 25, 2014 for the express purpose of serving industrial customers in the city's southeastern quadrant with natural gas. All residential and commercial customers in the City of Hermiston, as well as all other industrial users in Hermiston, are served by Cascade Natural Gas.
For questions regarding the Hermiston Gas Utility Departent, contact Hermiston City Hall at (541) 567-5521.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Why did the City of Hermiston form a Gas Utility?
A: The City of Hermiston is currently served by Cascade Natural Gas. Based on seasonal peak demands for gas by existing large industrial customers, Cascade’s delivery system would require expensive upgrades to accommodate additional large users during those times of the year. For example, one of the existing large industrial users was planning to make a $17 million investment at their facility, which would have resulted in new jobs and long-term economic benefits to the community. The expansion required an upgrade to the existing gas infrastructure. Cascade increased its initial cost estimate of the upgrade by more than 500%, and informed the customer that it would have to pay up-front the entire cost of the capacity upgrade. This caused the industrial customer to suspend its planned expansion indefinitely. Based on this and other experiences, the City is concerned that the costs needed to upgrade the existing gas infrastructure will remain a significant barrier to any future industrial expansion or development in the City. Therefore, the City of Hermiston is interested in adding additional gas capacity to the southern industrial area of Hermiston to accommodate and attract large scale employers to the area. Without expansion of the natural gas delivery system, Hermiston will not be a viable option for many large food processing companies and other large users of natural gas.
Q: Why haven’t I heard that the City of Hermiston is forming a Gas Utility?
A: The Hermiston Gas Utility Department was created administratively at the council meeting on August 25, 2014 as the first step in this process. The formation of the Gas Utility Department will help the City of Hermiston to continue to investigate the feasibility of serving customers in the southern industrial area of town. Although the Hermiston Gas Utility Department was created as a department of the City, the City is not currently ready to operate and serve customers.
Q: How much will this cost?
A: Before the City authorizes the use of funds for design and construction of the facilities used to serve customers, refined cost estimates will be made. Detailed cost estimates will be made public once the City has explored and investigated the best options to serve customers in the southern industrial area of town.
Q: What makes Hermiston different so that it can form a gas utility when no other cities in Oregon have?
A: Location. Two interstate gas transmission pipelines intersect near Hermiston. This proximity to natural gas pipelines and supply lowers the City’s cost to directly tie-in and receive gas.
Q: Will I continue to be served by Cascade Natural Gas?
A: Yes. At this time, the City of Hermiston is only looking to provide gas service to the southern industrial area of the City. All other areas of the City will continue to receive service from Cascade.
Q: Will this affect my gas bill?
A: No. The Hermiston Gas Utility Department is not planning on serving residential or commercial customers outside of the southern industrial area. All other areas of the City will continue to be served by Cascade Natural Gas. Cascade’s rates are regulated by the Oregon Public Utilities Commission.