The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) has approved a $33.5 million annual rate increase for Las Vegas, NV-based Southwest Gas Corp.’s customers in the state. The increase, effective on Jan. 1, will be borne by customers on their summer-month (April through October) natural gas bills.

The rate change will mean a slight decrease of 1.2% for the five winter billing months, a Southwest Gas Corp. spokesperson said. The drop will be $1.13/month, putting average winter bills at $92.53/month.

Southwest originally sought a $50.2 million increase, with a 9.45% rate of return level, as part of its general rate case filing with the ACC in August 2007. The utility claimed what it called a “fair value rate base” of $1.39 billion.

Rates for Arizona customers of Southwest were reduced by $65.2 million annually last May 31 as a result of the eliminating of a purchased gas adjustment surcharge that was established in 2006. At the time, the utility indicated that change would drop winter bills by 6.33% for the average residential customer in the winter and 4.85% in the summer.

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