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Published: Thursday, 1/9/2003

Gas rates for 3 months to be similar

Winter natural gas rates will be similar to those of last January, February, and March from Ohio Gas Co., the regulated natural-gas utility from western Lucas County to the Indiana line, including all of Fulton County.

The utility raised its gas cost recovery rate to almost 56 cents per hundred cubic feet (ccf), up 3.5 percent from the same period last year. The winter rate is a slight decrease from 56.1 cents per ccf in October through December.

Meanwhile, Columbia Gas of Ohio, the regulated utility in Lucas and part of Wood counties announced plans to increase its gas rate by 50 percent compared to last winter for bills due in February through April.

Columbia requested state regulators approve a rate of 76 cents per ccf starting Jan. 30. That is 36 percent higher than Ohio Gas's rate. Kim Watkins, vice president and controller of Ohio Gas said he did not know why the Bryan-based company was able to provide gas at a lower rate than the larger Columbia.

The average residential bills for Ohio Gas customers for January through March are expected to be $140 a month if winter temperatures are typical, Mr. Watkins said. He predicted the company's spring rates for natural gas will be comparable. They are due to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio by March 1.

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