Aquila Inc. said this week that it has received approval from the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) for a 1.8% natural gas rate increase to recover the costs of investments made in the company’s natural gas transmission and distribution operations. With its last rate increase in 2003, the company pointed out that this increase is only its third in the last 13 years.

Aquila said the operating costs and system improvements it made include construction of new gas mainlines, individual gas service lines and equipment to serve customer energy demand in the state. The new rates for Aquila’s 147,000 gas customers in Iowa are expected to be effective by April 1.

While the rate increase was less than it requested, Aquila said it was generally satisfied with the order. “We are currently reviewing the order to determine if there are other aspects of the case we might ask the IUB to reconsider,” said Tracy Peterson, operating vice president for Aquila in Iowa.

The company had originally filed for a 2.7%, or $4.1 million, increase in annual revenues. The approved rates will increase annual revenues by $2.9 million for Aquila in Iowa. An interim rate increase of about 1% has been in effect since May 2005 while the IUB considered Aquila’s rate request.

Under the new rates, a typical residential customer using 903 therms a year will have an increase over current rates of about 60 cents per month, or 2 cents a day. A typical commercial customer using 3,498 therms annually would have an increase over current rates of about $2.53 a month, or 8 cents a day.

Based in Kansas City, MO, Aquila provides electricity and natural gas service to 1.3 million customers in Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska.

©Copyright 2006Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news reportmay not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in anyform, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.