PSNC Energy, the Triangle's natural gas utility, is planning to raise rates by 8 precent effective May 1. The change would raise a typical residential bill by about $1 a month.
The Gastonia-based company today told the N.C. Utilities Commission it needs to increase rates to cover the rising wholesale cost of natural gas. Under state law, utilities can pass on their fuel purchase costs to customers as long as the companies prudently negotiate fuel contracts with suppliers.
The change is expected to be approved by the Utilities Commission and will raise PSNC's summer rate from 92 cents a therm to $1 a therm, a unit of heat measure. A typical residential bill, reflecting a monthly average of 16 therms of fuel, will increase from about $15 to $16.
PSNC has nearly 500,000 customers in the state. In the past year, PSNC has raised rates once to reflect its wholesale gas costs.