Pennsylvania has given the green light to Equitable Resources to purchase Dominion Peoples and become the states's largest natural gas utility.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission voted four-to-zero last week to approve the acquisition.

Pittsburgh-based Equitable is also pledging not to request a base rate increase before 2009.

The acquisition remains in question because of a complaint by the Federal Trade Commission that the takeover would result in a monopoly in the Pittsburgh area.

Equitable says it will fight the action.

The acquisition would be part of a $970 million-dollar deal that includes the sale of Clarksburg's Dominion Hope to Equitable.

Equitable spokeswoman Patricia Kornick says the West Virginia Public Service Commission has scheduled hearings in May on that acquisition.

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