Starting in February, Atmos Energy and Entergy Mississippi will raise their customers’ rates.

The Mississippi Public Service Commission unanimously approved both rate increases at its meeting Thursday morning.

Atmos’ rates will go up by about $1.47 per month. Entergy customers using 1,000 kilowatt hours per month will pay about $7 more per month.

For Atmos Energy, the increase will allow the utility to recover its ongoing operations and maintenance costs and its investment in new pipes and equipment, Atmos said in a statement.

For Entergy, the utility’s rate increase is due to rising natural gas prices, Mara Hartmann, a spokeswoman for Entergy Mississippi, told Mississippi Today on Thursday.

Hartmann said the utility last year carried out two large rate decreases due to very, very low natural gas prices.

Because 65 percent of Entergy’s electricity is generated using natural gas, and natural gas prices have started to rise, it affects the utility’s rates, she said.

Sam Britton, public-service commissioner for the Southern District, said most of these rate increases have to do with the fluctuating cost of fuel that powers ratepayers’ homes and businesses.

“As the cost of natural gas changes, we will definitely see changes in rates,” Britton said. “Whatever the fuel charges are, usually they just flow straight through (to customers), so there’s really no profit or loss to the companies.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Entergy customers using 1,000 kilowatts per hour would pay about $7 more per month and that the utility’s rate increase was due to unprecedented low natural gas prices.

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