Regulators approve Southwest Gas rate hike

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX (AP) -- The Arizona Corporation Commission voted 3-2 to allow Southwest Gas Corp. to increase its rates by about 8 percent beginning Jan. 1.

The approval also includes a mechanism to allow the company to recover revenue lost from improved energy efficiency.

The approved rates will result in an increase of 7.7 percent, or $3.33 monthly, for the average residential ratepayer. The residential basic monthly service charge, imposed regardless of usage, will remain at $10.70.

A consumer's bill could rise or fall depending on the cost-recovery mechanism, but there will be a 5 percent cap on increases to the non-gas portion of a customer's bill and no limit on potential decreases.