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COLUMBIA GAS TO REQUEST INCREASE IN GAS COST RECOVERY RATE

 HARRISBURG, Pa., March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania notified the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) Tuesday that it will file a request on April 1, to increase its annual gas cost recovery rate by about $45 million to recover purchased gas costs.
 Columbia said in the notification that it will request an increase for residential customers of 77 cents per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) of gas, effective Oct. 1.
 Gary J. Robinson, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania president, said, "Columbia does not make a profit from the gas it purchases for customers. The actual costs are passed on to customers dollar for dollar.
 "While our projection is that gas costs will show a moderate increase next year, the majority of the proposed October gas cost recovery change is to reflect year-to-year billing adjustments that balance our costs."
 The commission requires the company to submit a gas cost recovery filing on an annual basis, and to notify the commission of the filing 30 days in advance.
 Robinson said the annual gas cost filing adjusts customers' bills for any increases or decreases in the cost of gas purchased by the company in the previous year and adjusts bills to reflect projections in gas prices for the coming year.
 If approved, the average monthly bill for the typical residential customer using 10 Mcf of gas per month will increase from $60.15 to $67.92, or by about 13 percent. On an annual basis, bills will increase from $721.75 to $815.01.
 Robinson said that even with the increase in gas costs, customers will still be paying about 7 percent less than they did in 1984 when gas prices were at their peak.
 Robinson pointed out that Columbia keeps its gas costs to a minimum by purchasing the most reasonably priced gas available on both a long- term and short-term basis.
 Columbia decreased its gas cost rate by $18.3 million in 1992 -- about a 6.2 percent reduction in the average residential customer's monthly bill. On Jan. 1, Columbia received permission by the PUC to increase its annual gas cost rate by $10.6 million on an interim basis.
 It should be noted that this filing does not reflect any possible energy tax currently being discussed in Washington, said Robinson.
 Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, with corporate offices in Pittsburgh, is the largest investor-owned natural gas utility in the state, serving more than 360,000 customers in 449 communities in 26 counties. It is one of five natural gas distribution companies of the Columbia Gas Distribution Companies, which is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, and serves a total of 1.9 million customers.
 -0- 3/3/93
 /CONTACT: Karen L. Miller, 614-460-4607, or James E. Vitak, 614-460-4601, both of Columbia Gas in Columbus, Ohio/


CO: Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania ST: Pennsylvania IN: OIL UTI SU:

CD-KC -- PG007 -- 2452 03/03/93 12:15 EST
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Date:Mar 3, 1993
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