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Piedmont Natural Gas agrees to lower rate increase
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Piedmont Natural Gas agrees to lower rate increase

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Piedmont Natural Gas said Wednesday it has reached an agreement with consumer and industrial groups in North Carolina that would lower the amount of its requested rate increase.

The utility filed a request with the N.C. Utilities Commission in March that would have raised the average monthly residential customer bill by $8.

PNG has agreed to a rate that would raise that monthly residential customer bill by an average of $5.50.

PNG said it plans to implement the increase in November.

The utility wants permission to recover up to $1.7 billion in capital expenses to accommodate growth in its communities, for infrastructure to decrease price volatility for customers, and for federally required safety improvements to its system.

Among the projects: construction of a new natural gas storage facility in Robeson County, and enhancements to a storage facility in Huntersville.

The utility said the increase is subject to the completion of the two construction projects and an audit of these projects by the commission’s public staff, which represents the interests of consumers.

“While raising rates is never an easy decision, the investments we’ve made are vital to keeping our pipeline system safe, reliable and robust,” Sasha Weintraub, PNG’s senior vice president, said in a statement.

The increase would be worth about $74 million annually, or 24% less than the $97 million Piedmont initially requested.

The utility said the agreement was developed in collaboration with the Carolina Utility Customers Association and the Carolina Industrial Group for Fair Utility Rates.

The stipulated rates also affect commercial and industrial customers.

For more information about PNG’s proposed rate increase, go to piedmontng.com/rates.

336-727-7376

@rcraverWSJ

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