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UGI Penn Natural Gas files for $21.7M base rate hike, citing system improvements

UGI Penn Natural Gas Inc. filed for a base rate increase of $21.7 million annually, to be used for ongoing system improvements, reliability efforts and new program proposals for energy efficiency and conservation.

The request, filed with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, would affect the delivery charge component of customer gas bills, according to a Jan. 19 news release.

If approved, the heating bill of an average residential customer using 91.2 ccf of gas per month would rise 10.6%, to $86.87 per month, the utility said. For an industrial customer using 97.4 Mcf per month, the bill would climb 11.6%, to $626.23 per month. For commercial heating customers using 29.6 Mcf monthly, bills would go up 11.5%, to $216.60 per month.

"UGI Penn Natural Gas anticipates investing $168 million in capital projects to upgrade our system over the next two years, bringing our total investment to over $400 million since the last base rate case," said Paul Szykman, vice president of rates and government relations at UGI Utilities Inc. "This includes not only a continuation of our infrastructure betterment initiative focused on pipeline replacement, but also an upgrade to a new customer information system."

The filing also includes a request to implement the new rates by March 20, but because the PUC takes time to allow for investigation and public hearings, the new rates are not expected to take effect until late October.

UGI Penn serves over 166,000 customers in 13 counties in northeastern and central Pennsylvania.