Columbia Gas requests a rate increase

Columbia Gas of Kentucky's base delivery rates are expected to rise if the state Public Service Commission accepts a request the utility filed this week. If implemented, the average residential customer's monthly bill would increase about $7.98.

This is the first such request from the utility in four years.

If accepted, Lexington-based Columbia Gas of Kentucky, which serves about 140,000 customers in 31 counties, will see an overall rise in revenue of $16.6 million, or 17.75 percent.

The company is seeking the rate increase for multiple reasons, said Lisa Smith, spokeswoman for Columbia Gas.

"Periodically, there is a change in rates to recover capital investments and operating expenses," she said.

The rate increase would cover the utility's costs for infrastructure improvements it began in 2008 and for automated meter reading devices among other programs.

"Delivery rates are charges for Columbia to deliver gas to your house or company, including things like pipeline inspection, repair and providing 24-hour emergency service," Smith said.

Under the plan, the average commercial customer's monthly bill would increase about $21.49.

Don't expect rates to change soon.

"It takes quite a while to review all the information. We should have an answer by the end of the year," Smith said.

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