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Piedmont Natural Gas customers to pay about $1 more on summer bills

The Piedmont Natural Gas headquarters
The Piedmont Natural Gas headquarters dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

Piedmont Natural Gas will charge customers in Charlotte and other North Carolina cities about $1 more on their residential gas bills this summer after regulators gave the company the nod for a rate increase.

But company officials stress that customers will still pay about $23 less on their bills than they did at the same time last year when the cost of natural gas was higher.

The N.C. Utilities Commission on Monday approved the increase for the Charlotte-based gas utility after it asked for a hike to offset a rise in the benchmark cost of gas, from $2 to $3, said company spokesman David Trusty. Those costs, which typically fluctuate, are included in the company’s rates and passed on to consumers.

The bill increase starts this month and will continue until the end of October, meaning customers will spend about $5 to $6 more on their bills over the next five months, Trusty said. The company reviews its rates each month and decides whether it will lower, increase or keep rates the same, he said.

Over the last year, the company has lowered its rates thanks to an increase in domestic natural gas production, he said. This latest increase, he added, does not indicate a trend of rate hikes.

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