Piedmont Natural Gas seeks 7% rate cut

Piedmont Natural Gas, the state’s largest gas utility, on Friday asked N.C. regulators to approve a 7 percent rate cut that would save a typical residential customer about $6.70 a month this winter.

The Charlotte company has 750,000 customers in the state, including a small section of Cary and Johnston and Harnett counties. Piedmont is asking for the rate reduction because its revenue last winter exceeded the company’s allowed profit margin as set by the N.C. Utilities Commission.

The commission will consider the request on Oct. 27 and is likely to approve it. The reduced rate would go into effect Nov. 1, and would reduce Piedmont’s revenue by $32 million over 12 months.

Piedmont wants to reduce its rate from $1.04 per therm to 97 cents per therm. In the past several years, the company’s rate has fluctuated between 91 cents a therm and $1.11 a therm. A therm is a unit of heat measure.

PSNC Energy, the Triangle’s natural gas utility, was approved for a small rate cut in September and effective Oct. 1. PSNC’s rate was cut from about 99 cents therm to about 98 cents a term. PSNC has 510,000 customers in the state.