CHICAGO (CBS) — Peoples and North Shore Gas are seeking a combined $88 million rate increase.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports, the proposed increase can be traced to a disagreement between Chicago-based Integrys – the parent company both gas utilities – and the Illinois General Assembly – over a new coal gasification plant on the city’s Southeast Side.

Integrys considers the plant too expensive.

One woman said the same can be said for gas prices.

“They should not raise anything. They should have left things the way they are. They’re already very expensive,” she said.

She says it is already difficult trying to make ends meet on a fixed income.

Another man is skeptical of whether the rate hike is needed, but expects the request will be approved.

Yet another man says the extra $6.50 per month that customers are expected to have to pay on average is manageable.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports