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Equitable Files for Cut in Customers' Bills

Equitable Files for Cut in Customers' Bills

Equitable Gas Co. filed a gas cost adjustment with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) Thursday which, if approved, will result in a 9% reduction in customers' monthly bills. The rate cuts would be effective Oct. 1. The PUC did not disclose when it would review the filing.

For an average residential heating customer who uses 116 Mcf/year, the LDC said bills would decrease from $97.95 to $88.89/month. Gas costs are included in customers' bills with no profit from utilities. Changes are passed on to the customer on a dollar-to-dollar basis.

"We were able to increase our storage over the winter," said Bob Butter, an Equitable Spokesman. "With that storage, we were able to buy cheaper gas, store it, and pull it out at opportune times. This resulted directly in the bill reduction."

Equitable said customers stand to gain additional savings, if Gov. Tom Ridge's proposal to cut the gross receipt tax (GRT) levied on residential gas users is enacted. It estimates an additional 5% cut if the proposal is put into action on Jan. 1, 2000.

The GRT cut proposal is also a key issue in the state's attempt to deregulate gas service to small commercial and residential customers (see Daily GPI, Feb. 1).

"The tax cut proposal and the Pennsylvania deregulation bill are obliquely connected, but the bottom line is we support both pieces of legislation. Competition is good on our side because we become more cost competitive and the customers like it because they save money."

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