Duquesne Light (DQE) filed Friday for a rate hike that would boost the typical residential customer's monthly electric bill by $12.

The Pittsburgh-based utility, once known simply as DQE, said the request with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission represents its first requested rate increase since 1987. The company said the proposed rates still would be below 1992 levels and would help the company to offset increased costs to provide service, including its ongoing upgrade of the region's electric infrastructure.

"We are investing more than $500 million in the region's electric infrastructure to ensure local residents -- and the businesses and communities that are so critical to this region -- are connected to a secure, safe and reliable source of energy," said CEO Morgan O'Brien. "While our transmission and distribution system has served customers well for decades, various components are nearing the end of their useful operating lives. This upgrade of the wires, poles, transformers, substations, underground circuits and other equipment that deliver power to customers' homes and businesses is a necessary, proactive investment that also is creating several hundred new jobs for our community."

Duquesne Light expects PUC review of its filing to take nine months. The company believes new rates will go into effect in early January 2007.