ALBANY, N.Y. - (AP) - Con Edison customers can expect higher electric bills after state utility regulators approved a rate hike of almost 5 percent.

The increase approved Wednesday by the state's Public Service Commission will allow Con Ed to collect an additional $425 million annually from its customers in New York City and Westchester County.

Commission spokesman James Denn says the company demonstrated to the commission that a rate increase is justified in order to continue providing safe and reliable service.

Denn says the average monthly bill for a New York City household will rise $4.25. Westchester households will see an average hike ofmore than $5.60 a month.

He says the approved increase was a fraction of the $1.2 billion annual hike Con Ed sought.