The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has scheduled four hearings in the city next month on Philadelphia Gas Works' proposed $70 million rate increase, which would boost monthly residential bills by $10.59, or 11.3 percent.

The PUC will hold two hearings on May 9:  At 10 a.m. at the commission's office at 801 Market Street, sixth floor; and at 6 p.m. at Dorothy Emanuel Recreation Gymnasium, 8501 Provident Avenue.

Two more hearings will be held on May 10: At 10 a.m. at the Philadelphia Free Library, 1901 Vine Street; and at 6 p.m. at the George Washington High School auditorium, 10175 Bustleton Avenue.

The city-owned utility's rate request would include a boost in the fixed monthly customer charge from $12 to $18, which would be the highest in the state. PGW says it needs the rate increase because warming weather trends are causing customers to use less gas to heat their homes.

More details on the hearings can be found on the PUC's website: www.puc.pa.gov.