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Unitil seeks to raise natural gas rates

November 4, 2011

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PORTLAND, Maine—The largest natural gas provider in southern Maine is seeking a rate increase to help pay for a $60 million project to upgrade infrastructure.

But some say a rate increase by Unitil as winter approaches puts strain on low-income families.

The sought-after increase is for the distribution base rate, not the gas itself. It would add more than $20 to the monthly bill of customers who use gas to heat, and more than $6 per to bills of customers who use gas to cook and other non-heating purposes.

State. Rep. Ben Chipman wants the increase delayed until after winter.

Unitil says the increase is needed to help replace pipeline. The Public Utilities Commission will vote on the increase next Tuesday.

Unitil serves about 26,000 customers in the Portland area.