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A proposed 24 percent hike in electric rates drew protesters to a public hearing before Rhode Island regulators.

A crowd chanted “just say no” during the 2 ½-hour meeting of the Public Utilities Commission Tuesday in Warwick.

Thomas Kogut, a spokesman for the PUC, has said many regional utility companies have filed for similar increases because of constraints on the gas pipeline that force up the price of electricity generation.

But most of the 25 people who spoke at the hearing blasted the proposal, saying a hike of about $21 a month for the average consumer is too much for many to pay and would lead to layoffs and closings at many small businesses.

The Public Utilities Commission plans to vote on the rate-hike request on December 23.