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Public hearing on Columbia Gas rate hike scheduled in Cumberland

July 6th, 2017 by WCBC Radio

The Maryland Public Service Commission will hold two public hearings on the application of Columbia Gas of Maryland for a $5.2 million increase in its gas rates. The first hearing will be held Wednesday, July 19, 2017 at 7 p.m. at the Hagerstown Community College (Career Programs Building, Room 131), 11400 Robinwood Drive in Hagerstown (Washington County), Maryland. The second hearing will be held Thursday, July 20, 2017 at 7 p.m. at the Cumberland Ramada (Crown South Room), 100 South George Street in Cumberland (Allegany County), Maryland. Members of the public who wish to comment on the matter are welcome to attend the proceedings before Public Utility Law Judge Ryan C. McLean.

 

Columbia Gas of Maryland, a subsidiary of NiSource, Inc., provides gas distribution service to approximately 33,000 customers in western Maryland.  The company’s existing base rates were approved in October of 2016 by Commission Order No. 87851 in Case No. 9417.  According to its application, the need for the rate increase arises principally from Columbia’s continued increased investment in the replacement of pipeline infrastructure, increased operation and maintenance expenses, and the company’s need for an opportunity to earn a fair and reasonable return on its investment in utility facilities.

 

Under the rates as proposed in Columbia’s supplemental filing, the total bill for a residential customer who purchases seven dekatherms (Dth) of gas from Columbia per month would increase from $84.24 per month to $96.86 per month, or by 14.98%. The total bill for a small commercial or industrial customer purchasing 24 Dth of gas from Columbia per month would increase from $284.31 per month to $317.14 per month, or by 11.55%. 

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