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EQUITABLE TO REQUEST PURCHASED GAS COST INCREASE

 PITTSBURGH, March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Equitable Gas Co. announced today that it will file a purchased gas cost increase request with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) on April 1 to be reflected in rates beginning Oct. 1.
 The increase is due primarily to restructuring of the rates of the nation's interstate pipeline companies by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) intended to promote greater competition in the natural gas market. At present, much of the gas supplies which Equitable purchases to meet its customers' needs is produced in or near the Gulf of Mexico and transported to the Pittsburgh area by interstate pipelines.
 After the restructuring, interstate pipelines will charge more for service during winter heating months and less during periods of low demand. The increases will be highest for utilities whose markets are temperature sensitive. Equitable's filing will represent an increase in annual revenues of approximately $31.6 million to recover these additional gas costs. Gas costs are included in customer bills with no mark-up or profit to utilities. If approved by the PUC, the average residential customer's bill, someone who uses 127 Mcf of gas per year, will increase by $9.63 per month, or 11.4 percent beginning Oct. 1.
 Equitable's purchased gas cost filing is pursuant to an annual procedure under which major Pennsylvania natural gas companies are required to seek PUC approval of changes in customer rates to reflect actual and projected gas costs.
 For the past two years, purchased gas costs have decreased. The PUC approved a reduction in the company's purchased gas costs of $11.8 million in 1992, which lowered the bill of the average residential customer by $43 per year.
 Equitable Gas serves 232,474 residential, 16,842 commercial and 233 industrial customers in seven southwestern Pennsylvania counties.
 -0- 3/16/93
 /CONTACT: Mike Stack of Equitable Gas, 412-553-5808/


CO: Equitable Gas Co. ST: Pennsylvania IN: OIL UTI SU:

CD -- PG010 -- 6626 03/16/93 14:36 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 16, 1993
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