The state utilities board Friday granted a permanent rate increase to Mid-American Energy. The board’s Rob Hillesland says you’re likely not to notice. He says it’ll be a small bump up of the temporary increase that was granted in June. Hillesland says that temporary hike and this week’s permanent one are not actually for natural gas, but for the rising cost the company says it must bear to store, handle and ship it.He says he can’t give specifics on the many classes of customers in different rate zones, but Rob says the board’s told the gas company to decrease rate disparities between east and west zones in the state and MidAmerican was ordered by the board to eliminate such disparities once and for all, in the next permanent rate case they file. He says the differences in pricing are because different regulators controlled Iowa-Illinois and Midwest Gas Company, which merged in 1995. He says customers have paid a temporary rate only slightly lower than the permanent rate approved Friday, and between the different customer classes and zones, the difference in bills from now on will be only dollars or even pennies more than clients have been paying for natural gas.
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