BOISE, Idaho -

Intermountain Gas Company has asked the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to approve a 2.64 percent increase in prices.  The $6.7 million hike would take effect Oct. 1.

The company said the main reason for the increase is the price of natural gas that Intermountain purchases for sale to its customers. 

The request was part of the company's annual purchased gas cost adjustment application.

If approved, residential customers using natural gas for space and water heating will see an average increase of 3.81 percent, or $1.89 per month. Customers using natural gas for space heating only will see an average increase of $1.40 per month, or 3.64 percent, based on average weather and usage. 

Commercial customers, on average, would see an increase of 31 cents per month, or 0.15 percent.

Intermountain Gas Executive Vice President and General Manager Scott Madison said the higher prices were caused by upward pressure on prices.  That was caused by last winter's cold weather in the eastern U.S.  It also put a significant dent into natural gas storage levels across the country.

An increase in domestic natural gas production is expected to keep prices fairly stable in the coming years.