HARRISBURG — Natural gas rates for Peoples TWP customers have increased 17 percent for 2014.
Barry Kukovich, a company spokesman, said the rate went into effect Wednesday.
The state Public Utility Commission on Dec. 19 approved the increase, which is smaller than was proposed.
The company had sought a 28 percent that would have raised monthly bills for the average residential customer using 84 Mcf, 84,000 cubic feet annually from $79.22 to $101.71, an increase of $270 per year.
However, the company, the state Office of Consumer Advocate, the state Office of Small Business Advocate and the PUC’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement agreed to a settlement for a lower rate increase.
The average residential customer’s monthly bill now will increase from $79.22 to $94.94, an increase of about $189 per year.
The company proposed the rate hikes to fund the replacement of 148 miles of pipe installed about 70 years ago.
“The foremost reason for this replacement is public safety. A second, major reason is the modernization of infrastructure to support economic growth throughout the Butler region,” Kukovich said in a statement.
The last time T.W. Phillips increased rates was in 2010, when a 10 percent increase was implemented.
The company has 60,000 customers in 10 counties, with about half of its customers in Butler County.