DENVER (AP) — An administrative law judge has approved a settlement reducing a proposed $1 million natural gas rate hike by Black Hills Energy to $174,000.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission said Friday that the settlement means base rates will rise about 0.8 percent instead of nearly 5 percent. For a typical residential customer using 79 therms of natural gas per month, rates would increase by 17 cents per month.

The new rates are expected to take effect Monday.

The agreement establishes a 9.6 percent return on equity for Black Hills, down from the company’s previous return of 10.25 percent.

The Black Hills Colorado gas utility serves about 64,000 customers in 27 Colorado communities including Castle Rock, Limon and Burlington.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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