PORTLAND (AP) – Unitil, the natural gas utility that serves southern Maine, has filed with the state Public Utilities Commission for a decrease in rates that reflects a drop in costs in the wholesale market.

The lower rates would take effect May 1.

In seeking a decrease in its Cost of Gas Factor rates, Unitil said the typical residential customer will see a drop of 26 percent, or $23.99 per month, from last summer. Actual bills will vary according to rate class and usage.

Cost of Gas Factor rates in Maine are adjusted periodically to reflect changes in gas supply costs. Supply costs are passed through to customers without any markup by the distribution company.

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