“Our number one priority is maintaining the safety of our customers and the communities we serve,” said Mike Huwar, president of Columbia Gas of Maryland. “We have made, and will continue to make, substantial capital investments in our system to update the safe and reliable system we currently operate. We believe this filing provides a number of tangible benefits to our customers.”
From 2007 to 2018, Columbia Gas invested over $146 million in the modernization and expansion of its distribution system in Maryland. Of that amount, approximately $101 million was dedicated to replacing more than 84 miles of aging bare steel and cast iron pipe. In 2019, Columbia Gas will invest approximately $29.7 million in Maryland, with $24.4 million being invested to upgrade aging underground infrastructure.
“We are proud of our pipeline replacement program and our ability to continue to serve our valued customers safely and reliably, but our work doesn’t stop there,” said Huwar. “We also remain committed to providing a positive customer experience through an educated and trained workforce focused on safely meeting or exceeding all federal and state requirements while operating our distribution system.”
In today’s filing, we are seeking an annual revenue increase of approximately $3.7 million.
“We are working more efficiently than ever, and we will continue to look for additional ways to make the most cost-effective decisions for our customers,” said Huwar.
If the adjustment is approved by the PSC, the average total bill for a residential customer who purchases 70 therms of gas per month from Columbia Gas would increase from $84.86 to $91.62 (a 7.97% increase). The average total bill for a small commercial customer who purchases 250 therms of gas per month from Columbia Gas would increase from $285.01 to $300.21 (a 5.33% increase). The average total bill for an industrial customer who purchases 3,740 therms of gas per month from Columbia Gas would increase from $2,914.99 per month to $2,956.78 (a 1.43% increase).
Huwar noted, “Thanks to continued low and stable natural gas costs, the impact on the customer’s bill associated with this filing is reduced. On behalf of our customers, we work with suppliers to secure the best possible natural gas prices, while maintaining the reliability of gas supply during peak demand periods.”
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 Maryland 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 a home’s monthly gas consumption.
The process for a general rate proceeding before the PSC can take up to seven months and we expect that new rates would be effective near the end of 2019. Customers with questions regarding the proposal may call 1-888-460-4332 or visit www.ColumbiaGasMD.com for more information.
About Columbia Gas of Maryland
Columbia Gas of Maryland delivers clean, affordable, and efficient natural gas to approximately 33,000 customers in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties. 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 Maryland and NiSource is available at www.ColumbiaGasMD.com and www.nisource.com.
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