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PEOPLES GAS FILES RATE CHANGE REQUEST WITH PUC

 PITTSBURGH, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The Peoples Natural Gas Company today filed a base rate increase request with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC). Higher costs of doing business -- both operating and capital expenses -- were cited as reasons for the request.
 If approved by the PUC, the new rates would increase Peoples' annual revenues by $28.4 million, or approximately 8.2 percent. The requested amount would increase the typical residential customer's average monthly gas bill from $76.45 to $84.62. The average residential customer uses approximately 137 mcf (thousand cubic feet) of gas a year.
 If the PUC follows its normal procedures, the rate change will go into effect July 27, 1994.
 "Like virtually every business, Peoples Gas is experiencing increased operating expenses," according to Bill McKeown, director, rates. "Most significant are increased costs associated with labor and medical benefits."
 Regarding capital costs, the increases are associated with facilities maintenance and with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Order 636. "The new policy restructures and deregulates the natural gas industry, and we have incurred costs associated with those changes," said McKeown.
 Even with the proposed increase, McKeown points out that Peoples' rates will remain competitive with other gas utilities in the area and with other energy sources. "Peoples Gas is committed to providing reliable natural gas service at the lowest cost possible for its customers," McKeown noted.
 However, McKeown added, Peoples Gas is aware that any rate increase impacts the budgets of all customers, particularly individuals on low or fixed incomes. The company offers special programs for customers having difficulty paying their gas bills and anyone interested should contact their local Peoples Gas office.
 Peoples Gas provides natural gas service to 313,531 residential, 22,297 commercial, and 178 industrial customers in 16 counties throughout southwestern Pennsylvania.
 -0- 10/28/93
 /CONTACT: Elmore Lockley, 412-392-2467, or Steve Dishart, 412-497-5614, both of Peoples Natural Gas/


CO: The Peoples Natural Gas Company ST: Pennsylvania IN: UTI SU:

DM-MK -- PG015 -- 8003 10/28/93 14:02 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 28, 1993
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