PSNC seeks higher natural gas rates

Posted February 18, 2010 12:13 p.m. EST
Updated February 18, 2010 1:18 p.m. EST

— PSNC Energy has filed a request with the state Utilities Commission to raise its natural gas rates by about 10 percent.

The Gastonia-based company, which is the primary gas supplier in the Triangle, wants to increase the "cost of gas" component in the rate it charges to customers. If approved, the average residential gas bill would go up by $9.50 a month, officials said.

Utilities don't make a profit on the "cost of gas" component and merely pass their costs through to customers, officials said. PSNC has cut its rates several times in recent months because the prices they paid to suppliers had dropped.

If approved by the Utilities Commission, the PSNC rate increase would go into effect on March 1.

Meanwhile, Charlotte-based Piedmont Natural Gas has asked regulators in both North and South Carolina to reduce rates about 5 percent, based on lower wholesale costs for natural gas.

The new rates for Piedmont customers also would go into effect March 1 if approved the North Carolina Utilities Commission and the South Carolina Public Service Commission.