MERRILLVILLE, Ind., March 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Inc., a subsidiary of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI), filed a request today with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to adjust its base rates for distribution service so it can continue to upgrade and replace the company’s underground natural gas distribution pipelines.
“Our number one priority is maintaining the safety of our customers and the communities we serve,” said Michael Huwar, president of Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania. “We have made, and will continue to make, substantial capital investments in our system to enhance the safe and reliable system that we currently operate. We believe this filing provides a number of tangible benefits to our customers.”
From 2007-2017, Columbia invested more than $1.6 billion to modernize and expand its distribution system in Pennsylvania. Of that amount, approximately $1.2 billion was dedicated to replacing more than 922 miles of priority pipe. In 2018 alone, Columbia plans to invest $274 million in Pennsylvania, with more than $215 million dedicated to upgrading aging underground infrastructure throughout the 26 Pennsylvania counties where it provides natural gas service.
The filing, if approved by the PUC, would not only provide the company with an opportunity to earn a fair return on its infrastructure capital investments, but also enhance pipeline safety through a number of initiatives. Columbia Gas is seeking an annual revenue increase of approximately $46.9 million.
Approval of the proposal would result in the average total bill for a residential customer who purchases 70 therms of gas per month increasing from $91.63 to $99.88 (9 percent), the average total bill for a small commercial customer who purchases 158 therms of gas per month increasing from $152.40 to $158.24 per month (3.83 percent), and the average total bill for a small industrial customer who purchases 1,328 therms of gas per month increasing from $1,089.47 to $1,432.90 per month (31.52 percent). These figures represent an annual average monthly bill with the customer purchasing their gas from Columbia Gas.
Gas costs generally represent about a third of a residential customer’s total bill. Columbia Gas purchases its gas on the wholesale market and under Pennsylvania law passes these costs on to its customers without mark-up or profit. The gas cost portion of a residential customer’s monthly bill is based entirely on their home’s monthly gas consumption.
In addition to a wide array of customer assistance and energy efficiency programs that provide resources and tools for customers to save money and energy, the company also utilizes a Weather Normalization Adjustment that stabilizes the distribution portion of a customer’s bill to reflect normal weather levels, if temperatures are 5 percent greater or 5 percent lower than normal during the winter heating season.
The process for a general rate proceeding before the PUC can take up to nine months and the company expects that new rates would be effective at the end of 2018.
About Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania
Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania delivers clean, affordable, and efficient natural gas to approximately 426,000 customers. With headquarters in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, it is one of NiSource’s seven regulated utility companies. NiSource (NYSE: NI) is one of the largest fully-regulated utility companies in the United States, serving approximately 3.5 million natural gas customers and 500,000 electric customers through its local Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands. More information about Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania and NiSource is available at www.ColumbiaGasPA.com and www.nisource.com.
NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) is one of the largest fully-regulated utility companies in the United States, serving approximately 3.5 million natural gas customers and 500,000 electric customers across seven states through its local Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands. Based in Merrillville, Indiana, NiSource’s approximately 8,000 employees are focused on safely delivering reliable and affordable energy to our customers and communities we serve. NiSource has been designated a World’s Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute since 2012 and is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability – North America Index and was named by Forbes magazine as the top-rated utility among America’s Best Large Employers in 2017. Additional information about NiSource, its investments in modern infrastructure and systems, its commitments and its local brands can be found at http://www.nisource.com. Follow us at http://www.facebook.com/nisource, http://www.linkedin.com/company/nisource or http://www.twitter.com/nisourceinc. NI-F
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SOURCE NiSource Inc.