Columbia Gas bills going up 8 percent

Columbia Gas is getting an 8-percent revenue increase and customers will see higher monthly bills starting Dec. 29 under an agreement announced Friday by the Public Service Commission.

The monthly bill for an average home using 10,000 cubic feet of gas this winter will rise by $4.56, which is less than half what Columbia Gas requested, PSC spokesman Andrew Melnykovych said.

Columbia Gas has about 134,000 customers in 30 counties in Central and Eastern Kentucky, including Lexington.

The company wanted to increase annual revenue by about $16.6 million, but the rates agreed to under the PSC settlement will increase revenue by about $7.6 million instead, Melnykovych said..

Others who approved the deal were Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway; Kentucky Industrial Utility Customers Inc.; Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government; Community Action for Lexington-Fayette, Bourbon, Harrison and Nicholas Counties Inc., representing low-income customers; and gas marketers Interstate Gas Supply, Inc. and Stand Energy Corp.

The company previously was granted a base rate increase in 2009.

In another provision of the settlement, Columbia Gas will replace analog meters that require physical inspection with remotely-read digital meters, and it will track the costs and savings associated with the change and report them annually to the PSC and attorney general.

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