The state Public Service Commission has rejected Dominion Hope's most recent request for a rate hike.

The PSC says it's holding up the increase to examine the utility's planned sale to Equitable Resources and to examine the Clarksburg-based Dominion Hope's method of accounting for gas in storage.

This request for an increase is among the lowest put forward by the company in recent years.

Natural gas rates have at least doubled, sometimes more, in recent years.

Dominion Hope had asked the PSC to allow it to increase its purchased gas adjustment allowance because the cost of natural gas exceeded its expectation.

The increase would raise the average customer's monthly bill by more than 13 percent.

Dominion Hope serves 116,000 customers in West Virginia.

Virginia-based Dominion Resources, announced plans to sell the utility and Pittsburgh-based Dominion Peoples to Equitable Resources.

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