BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Protesters with handmade signs met Wednesday on Grant Street in Buffalo to draw attention to National Fuel's proposed rate hike.

PUSH Buffalo says poor Western New Yorkers can't afford to pay the proposed 7.8% rate hike, and they want people to come to the public hearings about it Wednesday, October 26th at the Buffalo Central Library at 3pm and 6pm.

"How can you say that you're doing a service to the people when the people that you're servicing cannot afford your product?" said Maxine Murphy, PUSH Buffalo Board Director.

National Fuel says customers haven't had a rate increase in about ten years, and the money is needed for infrastructure improvements to get gas to customers in Western New York.