Plan creates jobs, supports economic development, promotes sustainability
CANONSBURG, Pa., May 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Columbia Gas de Maryland, Inc., a subsidiary of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI), filed an application today with the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) to approve revised rates to continue the upgrade and replacement of portions of the Company’s underground natural gas distribution pipelines. If approved, these proposed rate adjustments will not come into effect until the end of 2022.
“Ensuring the continued, long-term security of the customers and communities we serve is critical, and it requires the level of investment necessary to modernize our energy infrastructure for generations to come,” the aide said. Marc Kempic, president and chief operating officer of Columbia Gas. “This proposal aims to balance cost and service in order to continue to meet our commitments to customers.”
With over 165 full-time employees and contracted resources, Columbia Gas has proudly invested over $231 million in Maryland since 2008 as part of its long-term plan to modernize and expand its natural gas distribution network.
In addition to the positive economic benefits associated with these past and proposed future investments across the Western Maryland area served by Columbia Gas, this plan also supports a positive customer experience by ensuring an educated and trained workforce that is focused on safely meeting or exceeding all federal and state industry requirements.
Columbia Gas also offers a program that allows customers to reduce some or all of their emissions related to their natural gas consumption.
Help customers in need
At all times, Columbia Gas is committed to providing our customers with the tools, resources and programs to stay safe and warm in their homes. “Even with these necessary investments, any change in customer bills is significant,” Kempic added. “Support is available, and our goal is to work with customers to identify solutions to keep them connected.”
With the communities we serve in mind, Columbia Gas offers a number of flexible payment plans to residential and commercial customers to help spread the balance owing on their natural gas bills over several months. Information can be found at www.columbiagasmd.com/paymentplans.
Any Columbia Gas customer who may have fallen behind on their energy bills is encouraged to contact the company at 1-888-460-4332 or by visiting www.columbiagasmd.com/assistanceprograms.
PSC review process
Although the company filed its application with the PSC today, it is important to note that after a rate adjustment is filed, the Commission’s review process will take approximately seven months. Therefore, in this case, any rates approved and adjusted by the PSC would not come into effect until December 2022.
Approval of the proposal would result in an increase in the average total bill for a residential customer who purchases 70 therms of gas per month from Columbia Gas from $106.71 for $119.20, or 11.70%. The total bill for a small commercial customer purchasing 240 therms of gas from Columbia Gas per month would go from $336.18 for $367.31, or 9.26%. The total monthly bill for an industrial customer purchasing 4,590 therms of gas from Columbia Gas would go from $4,288.83 for $4,498.74or 4.89%.
If the application is approved as filed, the average total bill for residential customers would still be about 31% lower than it was 20 years ago, when adjusted for inflation.
Total aggregate demand represents an annual increase in income of $7.1 million.
How Customers Can Participate in the Rate Review Process
It is important to note that the public has a voice in the review process and anyone interested in the case can contact the PSC. Columbia Gas encourages the active participation of customers and other parties by participating through written comments and by attending public hearings. Residential clients are represented throughout the process by the Maryland Office of People’s Counsel.
Customers with questions regarding proposed rates may call Columbia Gas at 1-888-460-4332 or visit www.columbiagasmd.com for more information.
About Columbia Gas Maryland
Columbia Gas Maryland provides clean, affordable and efficient natural gas to approximately 34,000 customers in Garrett, allegania and Washington counties. It is one of six NiSource regulated utility companies. NiSource (NYSE: NI) is one of the largest fully regulated utility companies in the United States, serving approximately 3.2 million natural gas customers and 500,000 electricity customers through its local Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands. More information about Columbia Gas from Maryland and NiSource is available at www.ColumbiaGasMD.com and www.nisource.com.
NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) is one of the largest fully regulated utility companies in the United States, serving approximately 3.2 million natural gas customers and 500,000 electricity customers in six states through its local Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands. Situated at Merrillville, Indiana, NiSource’s approximately 7,500 employees are focused on safely delivering reliable, affordable power to our customers and the communities we serve. NiSource is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability – North America Index. Additional information about NiSource, its investments in modern infrastructure and systems, its commitments and its local brands can be found at www.nisource.com. follow us on www.facebook.com/nisource, www.linkedin.com/company/nisource or www.twitter.com/nisourceinc. The content of such websites is not incorporated by reference into this document or any other report or document filed by NiSource with the SEC. NI-F