PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The electric utility serving the Philadelphia area is seeking a rate increase that would boost a typical monthly residential bill by about $9.68, or 9.65%, citing the need for “significant" grid upgrades and for pandemic-related customer relief.

Peco said the $246 million increase is needed to to harden and modernize the local energy grid to accommodate clean energy demands such as electric vehicle charging and solar energy generation in homes and businesses, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Peco, which serves 1.6 million electric customers in southeastern Pennsylvania, proposes $1.5 million worth of incentives for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Also included is $2.7 million in relief for low-income customers and $1 million in credits to small businesses in low-income communities impacted by the pandemic.

The rate hike, which would take effect in January, would be about 10 times as big as the last $24.9 million increase that went into effect in January 2019. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission granted the company a rate boost that was only about a third of the utility's initial request.