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Piedmont Natural Gas agrees with NC consumer groups on 3% rate increase

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Piedmont Natural Gas agrees with NC consumer groups on 3% rate increase

Piedmont Natural Gas Co. Inc. struck an agreement with North Carolina consumer and industrial groups for a 3% increase in its rates to recover costs for system growth, pipeline safety and infrastructure investments.

The settlement reduces the Duke Energy Corp. utility's requested return on equity to 9.7%, from 10.6%, with the agreed-upon increase being one-third of the 9% increase originally requested, according to an Aug. 13 news release. The proposal is subject to approval by the North Carolina Utilities Commission, or NCUC.

If approved, the rate change would result in an average monthly bill increase of $1.80 for a typical residential customer in North Carolina, Piedmont said. The impact would be offset by Piedmont returning savings from federal and state tax reform to customers.

The parties in the settlement include the Carolina Utility Customers Association, the Carolina Industrial Group for Fair Utility Rates and the public staff of the NCUC. If approved, the new rates are expected to become effective by the end of the year.

Piedmont provides natural gas distribution services to over 1 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.