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Columbia Gas of Md. files for rate increase

Columbia Gas of Maryland Inc., a subsidiary of NiSource Inc. filed a request Friday with the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) to approve a rate increase to generate an annual revenue increase of $7.1 million for further upgrading and replacing portions of the company’s underground natural gas distribution pipelines.

If approved, these proposed rate adjustments would not go into effect until the end of 2022.

With more than 165 full-time employees and contracted resources, Columbia Gas has invested more than $231 million in Maryland since 2008 as part of its long-term plan to modernize and expand its natural gas distribution system.

In addition to the positive economic benefits associated with these previous and proposed future investments across the Western Maryland area served by Columbia Gas, this plan also supports a positive customer experience through ensuring an educated and trained workforce that is focused on safely meeting or exceeding all federal and state industry requirements.

Columbia Gas also is proposing a program that allows customers an option to reduce some or all of their emissions related to their natural gas usage.

While the company filed its request with the PSC Friday, it is important to note that after filing for a rate adjustment, the review process by the commission will take approximately seven months. As a result, in this case, any approved and adjusted rates by the PSC would not go into effect until December 2022.

Approval of the proposal would result in the average total bill for a residential customer who purchases 70 therms of gas per month from Columbia Gas to increase from $106.71 to $119.20, or by 11.70 percent. The total bill for a small commercial customer purchasing 240 therms of gas from Columbia Gas per month would increase from $336.18 to $367.31, or by 9.26%. The total monthly bill for an industrial customer purchasing 4,590 therms of gas from Columbia Gas would increase from $4,288.83 to $4,498.74, or by 4.89%.

If the request is approved as filed, the total average residential customer bill would still be around 31% lower than it was 20 years ago, when adjusted for inflation.