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PUCO Accepts Columbia Gas Rate Settlement

Article Presented By Scioto Valley Dumpsters…

(Columbus) – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has accepted a rate settlement agreement for Columbia Gas of Ohio, which serves approximately 1.45 million customers.

Under the terms of the settlement, Columbia Gas of Ohio is authorized to file rates that will produce a total increase in base distribution rates by $68.19 million on an annual basis—compared to the $221.4 million sought by Columbia Gas of Ohio in its application.

Residential customers will experience an approximate $3-4 increase in their monthly bill. The cost of natural gas is not a part of this rate case.

Columbia will continue its low-income home weatherization program, known as WarmChoice, providing $70 million in funding over the next five years. Columbia will implement a new $3.5 million bill-payment assistance program. The Commission modified the settlement to clarify the $3.5 million in bill-payment assistance should be funded by Columbia Gas of Ohio shareholders, and not in part by customers.

“The settlement agreement in this case is a reasonable resolution to this case that balances impacts to monthly bills while supporting utility investments in safety and economic development programs,” stated PUCO Chair Jenifer French.

Columbia is also authorized to continue its infrastructure replacement program (IRP) to replace aging infrastructure, and its capital expenditure program (CEP) to recover incremental capital investments over the next 5 years. Annual rate caps included in the settlement agreement will reduce potential future charges by a collective $482 million compared to what Columbia Gas of Ohio sought in its application.

The maximum monthly charges under these programs are as follows: IRP $2.77 in 2023; $4.05 in 2024; $5.35 in 2025; $6.70 in 2026; $8.47 in 2027. CEP: $3.41 in 2023; $4.80 in 2024; $6.15 in 2024; $7.26 in 2026; and $8.74 in 2027. Any costs under these programs are subject to PUCO review, approval, and audit.

On Oct. 31, 2022 a settlement agreement was filed by Columbia Gas of Ohio, PUCO staff, Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, NOPEC, Industrial Energy Users-Ohio, Ohio Manufacturers’ Association Energy Group, Ohio School Council, Interstate Gas Supply, Inc., Retail Energy Supply Association, The Kroger Company, and Ohio Energy Group.

What is a distribution rate case?

Learn more: PUCO rate case process

Columbia is ordered to file final tariffs with the PUCO to implement new rates and notify its customers within 30 days.

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