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Gas company seeks rate hike

While below-average temperatures boosted St. Croix Gas's revenue last year, the River Falls-based utility is seeking a 6.99% rate hike this year, according to a document filed with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. St. Croix Gas, 415 S. Second St., serves customers in Hammond, Prescott, River Falls, and the towns of Hammond, Troy, Kinnickinnic, Clifton and River Falls in western Wisconsin.

In preliminary testimony filed Friday, St. Croix Valley President Don Piepgras said the company needs the extra $688,000 in revenue this year to offset the $194,445 cost of energy efficiency programs, as well as labor and other business costs that are estimated to increase 4.5% this year.

Without the rate hike, Piepgras said the utility would incur operating losses based on current projected expenses and income.

The last St. Croix Gas rate hike was 3.02%, authorized in October 2005.

For more on this story, see the Feb. 18 print edition of the River Falls Journal.