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Lansing — The Michigan Public Service Commission approved a $143.5 million rate increase for Consumers Energy natural gas customers on Thursday.

The MPSC, which regulates the state's natural gas and electricity utilities, expects Consumers Energy to use the funds to increase gas transmission and distribution investments, accelerate the removal of at-risk gas lines made of cast iron or bare steel and invest in smart metering technology and customer-facing web-based and mobile applications.

Residential customers using a monthly average of 10,000 cubic feet of natural gas can expect a rate increase of $5.48 per month, beginning with their October bill.

The MPSC did not grant Consumers Energy the rate increases to help pay for costs associated with the fire at the Ray Compressor Station in January, commission spokesman Matt Helms said. The MPSC is conducting an investigation into the incident, he said.

Consumers Initially asked for a $229 million rate increase in November 2018. 

ecarter@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @EvanJamesCarter

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