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W.Va. residents’ utility bills up 1.2 pct in 2013

CHARLESTON (AP) — A new report says West Virginians paid 1.2 percent more for utilities in 2013 than in the previous year, primarily because of increases in natural gas and water rates.

The report released Wednesday by the Public Service Commission’s Consumer Advocate Division says the average West Virginia utility customer paid $280.62 a month for gas, electricity, water and telephone service last year. In 2012, the average monthly cost was $277.22.

Utility rates ranged from $258.82 in Morgantown to $316.25 in Bluefield.

Consumer Advocate Division director Jackie Roberts says the increases in natural gas and water rates last year were offset by a decline in electricity rates.

Roberts said rates have increased by 18 percent for water and 7 percent for electricity since 2010. Natural gas rates have fallen 18 percent.

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