The Maine Public Utilities Commission will hold a public hearing Thursday to gather comments on a proposed 7.1 percent rate hike for natural gas customers served by Northern Utilities Inc.

The hearing will be held at the University of Southern Maine’s Abromson Center, at 88 Bedford St. in Portland, starting at 6 p.m.

For an average home that heats with gas and uses 100 cubic feet a month, that’s an increase of $8.66 a month. It would change an annual bill from roughly $1,137 to $1,240, according to Unitil, the parent company of Northern Utilities.

Northern Utilities is asking that the company’s total revenue requirement for its distribution operations be increased by roughly $5.9 million. The distribution portion of a bill pays for the operational costs of local infrastructure.

The PUC expects to issue its decision in the first quarter of 2018.