YORK COUNTY, Pa. — Utility prices are on the rise.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is now investigating a monthly rate increase proposed by Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, which services more than 400,000 residential and commercial customers throughout western and south central Pennsylvania.
“The work for the PUC at this point is not to take sides necessarily but to launch an investigation and give everyone an opportunity to have a voice in the process," said Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
This year-long process takes place any time a utility company requests a rate change.
Columbia Gas says the proposed increase provides an opportunity to continue investing in the safety of its natural gas distribution system by replacing aging underground pipe.
“It’s Columbia Gas’s responsibility to demonstrate their request is necessary and reasonable and in the public interest," said Hagen-Frederiksen. "That’s really the test the PUC puts to any request to change rates.”
If the increase is approved by the PUC, residential, commercial and industrial customers would see distribution charges on their monthly bill rise by as much as ten percent.
In a statement to FOX43, Columbia Gas says:
"Under our filing, the new Columbia Gas distribution rates determined by the PUC would not become effective until mid-to-late December 2022. If the request is approved as filed, the total average residential customer bill in 2022 would still be 10 percent lower than it was 20 years ago when adjusted for inflation."
As part of the investigation process, the PUC will hold four public input hearings via telephone on May 31st and June 1st.
“It’s really a perfect opportunity for individual consumers to have their voices heard and talk about the potential impact of any rate change on them," said Hagen-Frederiksen
If you wish to testify at a hearing, you must pre-register through the Office of Consumer Advocate by this Thursday, May 26.
You can find out how to pre-register here.
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