State protests gas company rate increase

The Colorado Office of Consumer Counsel is challenging the request of SourceGas Distribution to raise the rates for 87,000 natural-gas customers in the state.

The consumer council office filed its protest with the Public Utilities Commission this week, objecting to the $6 million rate increase. The company is also seeking a 12-percent return on equity, even though the commission has approved most returns to be only as high as 10.25 percent.

Bill Levis, director of the consumer counsel office, said he was concerned about the size and timing of the proposal.

The average residential customer would receive a 5.23-percent increase in their monthly bill, while the average small commercial customers would see a 5.2 percent gas increase.

SourceGas customers live in Aspen, Basalt, Glenwood Springs, Montrose, Ouray, Snowmass and Telluride.