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Chattanooga Gas Rate Hike to Increase Residential Bills 2.5% Monthly

AGL Resources subsidiary Chattanooga Gas Co., which serves about 61,000 customers in southeastern Tennessee, on Tuesday filed a joint settlement proposal with the Tennessee Regulatory Authority (TRA), which addresses Phase I of utility's rate case. The joint settlement was filed with the Consumer Advocate and Protection Division of the Tennessee Attorney General's office and the Chattanooga Manufacturers Association.

If the settlement is accepted by the TRA, the revised base rates would go into effect on Jan. 1. The average residential customer using 60 therms of natural gas each month would have a bill increase of $1.92, or 2.5% in the nongas portion of the bill.

Officials with the company attribute the need for this rate increase to the higher cost of financing its operations and lower consumption of natural gas.

Next year, the TRA will consider Phase II of the rate case, under which customers may benefit from a 21-point home energy check-up and a weatherization kit to help them make their homes more energy efficient. Under the efficiency plan, Chattanooga Gas estimates customers may save up to $170 annually in energy costs. The program also includes rebates for more energy efficient appliances.

In October, Chattanooga Gas announced its customers would see a 34% reduction in the natural gas portion of their bills compared with one year ago because of falling gas prices. The utility estimated average residential customers using 60 therms of natural gas should save approximately $29.50 in November. In December, the average residential customer who uses around 115 therms of natural gas should save $56.60 versus one year ago. Chattanooga Gas is also refunding customers $4.7 million this year as part of its asset management agreement with Sequent Energy Management.

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