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UGI natural-gas rates to increase June 1Company cites higher price from supplier

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With the price it pays to buy gas from suppliers increasing, UGI Utilities Inc.'s gas division announced it is raising its rates for commercial, industrial and residential customers effective June 1.

The bill for a typical commercial retail customer, using 43,900 cubic feet of gas per month, will increase nearly 14 percent, from $412.39 to $469.68 a month, with no rate change expected on Dec. 1.

The bill for a typical industrial retail customer, using 149,800 cubic feet of natural gas per month, will jump nearly 15 percent, from $1,361.52 per month to $1,564.53. There again is no increase expected on Dec. 1, UGI said.

In addition, the average residential heating customer’s bill will increase by 12.5 percent, or from $64.64 to $72.71 a month, the Reading-based gas division announced.

UGI will also submit a Dec. 1 natural-gas cost rate projection in an annual filing with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on June 1.

At this time, UGI said it projects no change on Dec. 1 from the rates to be implemented on June 1, although utility spokesman Joe Swope cautioned that the rates could change, based on market prices between now and then  that UGI pays.

No additional approval from the PUC is needed for the upcoming rate increase.

"We emphasize that this rate plan is not just on a whim. It's on a plan that the PUC has approved," Swope said.

The June 1 increase comes because wholesale natural-gas prices have been increasing over the past six months. "And this adjustment reflects those higher costs," Paul Szykman, UGI’s chief regulatory officer, said in a news release this week.

UGI is required to file its gas cost rates annually for review by the PUC, which it is doing June 1, but it may adjust these rates quarterly to reflect changes in wholesale natural gas prices, Swope said.

By law, utilities cannot earn a profit on the natural gas commodity portion of a customer’s bill. Utilities are required to pass the cost of the natural gas they purchase directly through to customers without any markup, UGI said.

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David O'Connor

David O'Connor

Dave O'Connor covers York County, manufacturing, higher education, nonprofits, and workforce development. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at doconnor@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @DaveOC_CPBJ.

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