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COLUMBIA GAS REQUESTS ADJUSTMENT IN GAS COST RATE

 HARRISBURG, Pa., May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- To reflect higher natural gas prices, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania today asked the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for permission for an interim increase in its gas cost recovery rate of 29 cents per thousand cubic feet (Mcf), effective May 6.
 This increase would be in addition to a 77 cent per Mcf increase previously proposed by Columbia to go into effect Oct. 1.
 Gary J. Robinson, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania president, said the company is asking for the adjustment to offset higher-than-anticipated gas prices that are now prevailing in the market.
 The increase is based on the company's actual gas costs paid to gas suppliers between December 1992 and May 1993.
 Robinson attributed the rise in natural gas prices to industrywide conditions that stem from colder-than-normal weather late in the winter season that caused a heavy draw from the nation's gas storage fields.
 "Demand is higher-than-normal for this time of the year because buyers are refilling storage fields that were depleted during the winter."
 If the commission approves the interim increase of 29 cents per Mcf, the average monthly bill for the typical residential customer using 10 Mcf of gas per month will increase from $59.77 to $62.69, or by about 5 percent.
 On an annual basis, average residential customers' bills will increase from $717.18 to $752.22.
 Even with the increase in the gas cost rate, customers will still be paying about 14 percent less today than they did in 1984, when gas prices were at their peak, Robinson said.
 The current gas cost rate went into effect Oct. 1, 1992, and was revised Jan. 1 to reflect higher prices Columbia was paying for gas.
 Robinson said that the company does not make a profit from the gas it purchases for customers. The actual costs are passed on to customers dollar for dollar.
 He 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 Gas of Pennsylvania, with corporate offices in Pittsburgh, is the largest investor-owned natural gas utility in the state, serving about 362,000 customers in 450 communities in 26 counties.
 -0- 5/5/93
 /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; Pennsylvania Public Utility
 Commission ST: Pennsylvania IN: UTI SU:


DM-MJ -- PG015 -- 5051 05/05/93 16:55 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 5, 1993
Words:413
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