HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has approved a smaller than requested increase in rates for natural gas distribution services by Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania Inc.

The order also includes a series of future steps the company must take to address energy affordability, customer assistance programs and outreach to households who may qualify for assistance.

The Commission voted 4-0 in support of an Order and Opinion granting Columbia an annual revenue increase of $63.5 million (11.1%), compared to Columbia’s initial request to increase annual revenues by $100.4 million (17.54%). Additionally, the monthly residential customer charge was left unchanged, at $16.75, rather than increasing to $23.00, as Columbia had proposed.

In a joint statement, PUC Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille and Vice Chairman David W. Sweet emphasized the need for Columbia Gas to address issues raised by consumer advocates about Columbia’s programs to assist struggling customers and outreach to those households.

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