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National Fuel Gas raising rates 4.2 percent in Pa.

ERIE, Pa. (AP) -- About 214,000 customers of National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. in northwestern Pennsylvania will see a rate increase for the second straight quarter.

The Buffalo, N.Y.-based utility says the 4.2 percent increase that takes effect Thursday will raise the average customer's monthly bill from $76.81 to $80.04.

The utility raised rates 4.2 percent in August, after three straight quarterly decreases that dropped the average monthly bill to $73.45, a 10-year low.

The company says the increase is driven by the rising cost of gas, after roughly two years of record-low costs due to increasing supplies from drilling in the Marcellus shale formation.

National Fuel officials says customers are still paying almost 6 percent less for gas than they were at this time last year.

National Fuel Gas serves customers in 14 northwestern Pennsylvania counties.