Rate increase would fund automated gas meters

Natural gas bills appear to be headed up again, only this time it has nothing to do with the cost of gas.

Dominion East Ohio says it needs more money to operate, so it is asking state officials to approve an increase in the monthly transportation charge included in bills.

The average monthly residential bill would increase 4 percent to $111.50 a month under the rate proposed by the Cleveland-based utility. It would be the fist increase in the transportation rate since 1993.

East Ohio informed the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio today that it intends to file the rate request in about 30 days. The case will take about nine months to complete, so an increase isn’t expected until spring 2008.

East Ohio’s proposal would raise $73 million a year, about $5 million of which would be used to install automated meters.

These meters would send wireless signals to receivers that would be located in a van that would be driven down streets. East Ohio plans to install the automated meters at all of its 1.2 million customers within five years.

For more on this story, see The Vindicator or www.vindy.com Saturday.

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