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UGI raises rates due to the past harsh winter

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On Monday, UGI Utilities Inc.which is headquartered in Reading, announced plans to seek a 4 percent rate increase for natural gas customers.

The increase is needed, according to the company because of the harsh winter's demand for heating caused by record setting low temperatures. That extra demand meant that the UGI's gas division paid more the product and residents did not have to because rates are stable until an increase is approved.

The rate increase, which can only be enacted quarterly once approved, will recoup that money for the gas provided and that the company was unable to collect for over the past winter. Meanwhile, the price for gas has went back down and is expected to remain level for the rest of the year. It remains to be seen whether the rate will be readjusted after the lost revenue is gained back.

UGI believes that since the rate increase is small and the price of natural gas is relatively cheap due to the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, the rate hike will not devastate their customer's pocketbooks.

The typical residents uses 8,500 cubic feet of gas a month and should see a price increase from $85 to $89. Commercial customers, who typically use 39,000 cubic feet of gas a month, would see their bill increase from $394 to $410.

UGI will file for the rate increase with Pennsylvania's Public Utility Commission, and it could go in to effect by June 1; the company, however, is not expecting it, or at least not including it in their December 1 rate projections.

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