BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley helped get a gas company's request to raise its prices rejected recently.

The state's Department of Public Utilities on Thursday announced it will not allow Bay State Gas Co. to increase its base rates by $7.5 million. The company provides natural gas to customers.

Coakley had represented Bay State's customers in the matter. Their bills would have increased by an average of 5 percent.

"We are pleased with the DPU's well-reasoned decision in this matter that puts the interests of customers above those of Bay States bottom line," Coakley said. "In rejecting Bay State's petition, the department has set the bar extremely high, as it should be, for any company seeking rate increases."

Bay State also wanted to impose an automatic rate increase mechanism to recover millions of dollars for the costs of an accelerated gas main infrastructure replacement program.

The DPU found that Bay State could not prove extraordinary financial circumstances that would lead to the proposed rate increase. The company's current plan already provides for annual rate increases until 2016.

Bay State has approximately 285,000 customers in Massachusetts.

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