MINEOLA - National Grid customers packed a public hearing at the Nassau Legislative Chambers in Mineola Tuesday on a proposal to increase monthly rates by a double-digit margin.

As News 12 Long Island has reported, National Grid is asking the state Public Service Commission to raise gas delivery rates by 24 percent.

It would mean an increase of about 16 percent on customers’ total monthly bills, or roughly $16 per month, according to the company.

It would be National Grid's first rate hike since 2007, but opponents at the hearing said they could not afford the hike -- especially senior citizens who live on a fixed income.

Many of them asked the state to reject National Grid's request.

In a statement, the company said it was optimistic it could reach an agreement that would be fair to customers and other stakeholders.

The state is taking public comments about the proposed hike by phone, online and at two more public hearings scheduled for Wednesday in Riverhead and Hauppauge.