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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gas Co. receives go-ahead for lesser, 10.7% rate hike

BY Greg Wiles
Advertiser Staff Writer

The Gas Co. received approval to raise rates from the state Public Utilities Commission yesterday, though the increase isn't as much as the state's largest gas energy provider had asked for.

The PUC is allowing the Gas Co. to increase rates by about 10.7 percent, which translates into an extra $9.21 million for the company.

The decision came about 21 months after it filed for an increase, saying it had not raised rates in eight years. At that time it asked the PUC to approve a hike that would affect the 35,000 of its customers who are served by underground pipelines.

It had sought a rate hike that would generate $12.5 million of extra revenue.

The Gas Co. said the increase was needed to meet the demand for gas along with providing quality service and a fair rate of return.

The company yesterday said it was still studying the decision and had no immediate comment on receiving less than it had sought.

The increase was also less than an interim rate the PUC approved in June while a final decision was pending. That increase raised rates 11.03 percent.

The PUC's ruling said the Gas Co. must refund excess money it collected while the interim tariff was in effect.

The company supplies more than 68,000 customers statewide with synthetic natural gas and liquified petroleum gas, or propane, products. It has more than 1,100 miles of pipeline and has more than 300 employees.