PECO’s new gas delivery rate will take effect on Jan. 1 and will fund expanded energy efficiency and customer programs, higher operating costs and new investments in the gas distribution system in the Philadelphia suburbs, the utility said Monday.

An average monthly residential bill of $110.29 will increase by $10.82, or 9.8%. The average monthly commercial bill of $531.97 will increase by $50.11, or 9.4%.

The rate changes the monthly service charge from $7.20 per month to $10.75 per month for residential customers and PECO’s gas delivery charge, which is based on usage, from 28 cents per hundred cubic feet (ccf) to 36.4 cents/ccf.

PECO lowered its gas commodity charge 18.8% on Dec. 1 based on lower market costs, saving residential heating customers about $50 a month. That change earlier this month kept gas rates at roughly the same level as December 2007.

The rate increase was approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in October following a settlement agreement in August (see Daily GPI, Aug. 25).

A new rebate program, effective Jan. 1, is intended to help customers to use energy more efficiently. PECO gas customers are eligible for a $300 rebate if residences and/or businesses install an Energy Star-qualified, high-efficiency gas furnace or boiler and a $50 rebate if residences install an Energy Star-qualified, high-efficiency gas water heater.

PECO said it will increase participation for its discounted customer assistance program (CAP) rates and Low Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP) for suburban gas customers. CAP will expand from two income-adjusted rates to four income-adjusted rates based on a funding increase from $4.3 million to approximately $13.7 million annually. LIURP, which provides free weatherization to low-income households, will increase from $900,000 to $2.25 million annually.

The new rate will also fund $280 million in system investments during the next five years to increase gas supply to portions of the service territory experiencing growth, replace aging equipment and distribution lines and increase system efficiencies.

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