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State

Your gas bill could go up almost $5 a month next year

Nicor seeking rate increase to keep up with costs

Nicor Gas residential customers could see their annual bills rise by an average of 8.3 percent, or $4.79 a month, in 2018 under a proposed rate hike the company is seeking to recoup higher costs.

Nicor filed last week for the delivery rate hike with the Illinois Commerce Commission.

Nicor’s last rate case with the commission was in 2008, Nicor President Melvin Williams said Friday.

Higher costs are prompting Nicor, which serves 2.2 million customers in northern and central Illinois, to seek a new rate hike, he said.

Even with the proposed rate increase, Nicor said the typical residential customer bill in 2018 would be 19 percent less than it was in 2010.

The Citizens Utility Board said it expects the ICC to rule on the request in 11 months.

“CUB will give Nicor’s proposal a thorough review, and we will challenge every penny of the increase that the company can’t justify,” the board said Monday in a news release.

The organization also warned that even customers who have signed up for an alternative gas supplier still pay Nicor’s delivery charges, so consumers should be wary of sales pitches that households can avoid the rate hike by going with an unregulated supplier.

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