- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

CUMBERLAND, Md. (AP) - Western Maryland customers of Columbia Gas are getting their say on a proposed rate increase that would boost the total bill for a typical residential customer by 21 percent.

The Public Service Commission is holding the hearing Wednesday night in Cumberland. An earlier hearing was held Tuesday in Hagerstown.

The company says the rate increase reflects investments in its pipelines, and higher operating and maintenance expenses.

The state Office of the People’s Counsel says some of the company’s cost projections are based on excessive inflation estimates.

Columbia Gas has about 33,000 customers in Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties. The company is a subsidiary of NiSource Inc., based in Merrillville, Indiana.

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