Proposals for higher electric and natural gas rates were presented Wednesday at a Nebraska City Board of Public Works meeting.

Residential electric customers can expect a 4.8 percent increase in rates and businesses can expect a 2.9 percent increase.

A 2 percent increase is expected for natural gas.

Nebraska City Utilities customers can expect to pay higher rates for electricity and natural gas each year for the next four years.

Phillip Euler, manager of engineering services for NMPP Energy, presented proposed rates at a public hearing Wednesday at the Rowe Safety Complex.

The proposed electric rate increases range from 1.2 percent to 5.2 percent depending upon the customer and the average rate increase will be 3.2 percent each year.

The price the utility pays for natural gas has gone down since 2008, but the price to Nebraska City customers will go up.

A 2 percent increase is proposed beginning December of 2013 to "move net incomes toward system financial targets," Euler said.

His report summary says the Nebraska City Board of Public Works is concerned about the cost of facility improvements and increases in labor and general operating expenses.

Utility Manager Leroy Frana said the U.S. Department of Transportation is expected to issue new regulations for natural gas pipelines that will require Nebraska City to make improvements. He said it could cost up to $850,000 to modify the lines.

He said the board of public works prefers gradual rate increases, rather than a spike in costs.

Proposed rates increases for natural gas will generate $32,918 from residential customers, $6,941 from business customers and $11,744 from "large general service" customers.