Utility regulators to investgate Columbia Gas rate hike proposal

| Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, 2:40 p.m.

Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania's proposed 23.45 percent rate hike will be investigated by state utility regulators.

The Public Utility Commission voted 5-0 Thursday to look into the natural gas utility's request to increase revenue by $77.3 million a year, a typical step in rate cases. The request is suspended for up to seven months, and a PUC administrative law judge will make recommendations.

Cecil-based Columbia, part of NiSource Inc., has been replacing old pipelines. It has 415,000 customers in 26 counties. A typical bill for a residential customer who uses 73 therms of gas a month would rise by $15.75 to a total $82.92 under the rate hike proposal.

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