Idaho Public Utilities Commission

Case No. INT-G-09-03, Order No. 30957

December 11, 2009

Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339, 890-2712



Intermountain Gas wants ability to interrupt snow-melt customers


Intermountain Gas Company is asking the Idaho Public Utilities Commission for authority to temporarily interrupt service to customers who use natural gas-fired snow-melting equipment during times when use of natural gas supply is peaking.


Natural-gas fired snow-melting equipment, installed under driveways and on rooftops, uses an inordinate amount of natural gas compared to more conventional uses. During days when natural gas is at peak use, the snow-melt equipment has the potential to impact service to other customers, said Intermountain Gas in its application to the commission. The company claims that because snowmelt customers use large amounts of natural gas for only a few days or weeks during the winter, it creates an inefficient use of the company’s distribution system and does not allow for cost recovery of the added capacity.


Intermountain Gas, which serves about 305,000 customers across southern Idaho, is proposing that new residential and small-commercial customers installing snow-melt equipment or existing customers remodeling to install the equipment receive the interruptible service. For customers who already have snow-melt equipment, Intermountain is negotiating voluntary agreements that allow for interruption after advance notice by the company.


Under the proposal, all new snow-melt applications would require individual meters installed at customer expense. These meters would be distinct from the meters provided for other natural gas service. At its discretion, Intermountain Gas would manually or remotely turn off all snow-melt meters in affected regions of its system when the ability of the system to make all natural gas deliveries is at stake. The company believes the interruptions will not be lengthy, but will depend on weather and snowfall conditions.


The commission plans to handle this request in a modified procedure that uses written comments rather than conducting a hearing, unless customer comments can demonstrate a need for a public hearing. Comments are accepted through Dec. 23 via e-mail by accessing the commission’s homepage at and clicking on "Comments & Questions." Fill in the case number (INT-G-09-03) and enter your comments. Comments can also be mailed to P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0074 or faxed to (208) 334-3762.


A full text of the commission’s order, along with other documents related to this case, is available on the commission’s Web site at Click on “File Room” and then on “Gas Cases” and scroll down to the above case number.