St. Louis utility company increases rate after 4 years

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ A St. Louis-based utility company is pushing for its first rate hike in four years.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/2osOnFd ) reports that Laclede Gas Co. has asked state regulators to approve an increase which would raise the average residential bill by $3.70 a month.

The request would give an additional $29 million in revenue annually to pay for the company’s system upgrades and maintenance.

Laclede representatives say even if the request goes through, customers will still pay lower bills on average than a decade ago, due to a roughly 40 percent decrease in the price of natural gas.

Public Service Commission official Kevin Kelly says the commission has 11 months to review the rate change request and will likely establish a timeline “within a couple weeks” for parties to be involved in the process.