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    Duke Energy Ohio has reached an agreement for distribution rate changes for electric and natural gas customers. Under the settlement, electric distribution rates will increase by about 2.9% for the average electric customer or about $3.72 per month. Agreements with natural gas rates have not been settled.

    The $49 million in addition revenue will be used to pay for improvements and rise in costs from building, maintaining and operating the electric infrastructure. Requests for natural gas distribution rate increase will go towards improvements made over the past five years (since the last natural gas rate increase) totaling to $500 million in upgrades on pipes and equipment used for natural gas transport into homes and businesses.

    Duke Energy Ohio President, Jim Henning, said in a press release: "The proposed settlement balances the needs of our customers and our investors. We understand there is never a good time to increase rates However, we believe this settlement allows us to keep the rate increase toOhiocustomers as low as we reasonably can, while still recovering the investments we’ve made to modernize our system to ensure safe and reliable services for the future.”

    If approved by Ohio's utility regulating authority, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), the rate increase will go into effect around June of this year. Since the rate hikes are distribution related, all of Duke Energy Ohio's 690,000 customers are subject to the increase. Duke's customers can, however, continue to shop around for better rates on electric supply by comparing retail electricity providers in the area. Learn more about electric choice here.