UGI Utilities-Gas Division in Reading is looking to raise its service delivery rate by 3 percent to 20 percent. It would be the company’s first rate increase in 21 years.
The company filed a request today with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to increase its base rates for residential, commercial and industrial customers by $58.6 million annually to help fund ongoing system safety improvements. Commercial customers would see a 7.4 percent hike, industrial customers a 3.2 percent increase and residences a 19.7 percent jump.
“Currently, UGI Gas Division has the lowest natural gas residential distribution rates in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania among major gas utilities,” said Paul Szykman, UGI vice president of rates and government relations. “UGI is working hard to manage costs and improve system performance while continuing our commitment to safely and reliably deliver natural gas to our customers and the many communities we serve.”
As part of its filing, UGI also is proposing the implementation of an energy efficiency and conservation program that would promote and reward customers’ efforts aimed at increasing their efficient use of natural gas.
According to a press release from the company, the request affects one of the two major cost-components that appear on customers’ bills, the delivery charge.
The other component of customers’ bills is the purchased gas commodity charge and reflects the actual cost the company pays to buy gas on the wholesale market, with no profit markup. That component will not be affected by the request.
If the rate increase is approved, the bill for a typical UGI Gas Division commercial customer that uses 32.3 thousand cubic feet of gas per month will increase $20, or by 7.4 percent from $270 to $290 per month.
The bill for a typical UGI Gas Division industrial customer that uses 132.7 thousand cubic feet per month will increase $33, or by 3.2 percent from $1,062 to $1,096 per month.
The bill for a typical residential heating customer who uses 57.3 hundred cubic feet of gas per month will increase $10, or by 19.7 percent from $51 to $61 per month. (Figures are rounded)
UGI said that it is requesting that the new gas rates take effect March 19, but won’t likely take effect until October because of public hearings and investigative proceedings.