November 13, 2023
For many Philadelphia residents, this winter's drop in temperatures will be accompanied by higher heating costs. Philadelphia Gas Works, the city-owned utility that serves more than 500,000 households, will raise its rates starting at the end of November.
The rate increase – which will provide a 3% boost in PGW's annual distribution rate revenue – was given regulatory approval by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission last week, according to WHYY.
PGW had requested a substantially bigger increase in February. The approved rate hike will generate an additional $26 million in annual revenue for PGW; the utility had sought to increase rates enough to bring in an extra $85 million to replace old pipes and improve safety.
That would have increased the average PGW residential customer's bill by $12 per month. The per-bill impact of the approved rate increase has not yet been calculated.
In public hearings held earlier this year, PGW customers objected to the bigger rate hike because of the financial hardship faced by some city residents, many who already struggle to pay their utility bills.
In addition to granting PGW the revenue increase, the PPUC also called on PGW to improve its customer service for low-income customers.
According to a 2021 study conducted by PGW in partnership with the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge, natural gas accounts for 24% of the city's carbon emissions. The report explored four potential paths PGW could pursue for a more environmentally-friendly future, including a transition to decarbonized gases, using electricity to heat buildings and switching to a system of networked geothermal energy.