By Linda Dillman
Columbia Gas will file with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in 2014 requests for increases that could cost the typical residential customer an additional $1.43 per month.
In a Nov. 25 letter to Canal Winchester city officials, the company said it is authorized by the PUCO to recover certain infrastructure and energy-efficient investments made in the previous calendar year.
According to the letter, Columbia Gas expects to file an application in February requesting an increase of approximately $25.7 million through its Infrastructure Replacement Program (IRP) Rider and another $4.9 million to cover Demand Side Management (DSM) program costs.
If approved by the PUCO, residents—on average—could see a $1.13 monthly increase in IRP billing and a 30 cent jump in DSM costs.
“Under its Infrastructure Replacement Program, Columbia is replacing aged cast iron, wrought iron, unprotected coated steel and bare steel distribution pipe, prone to fail risers and hazardous customer service lines,” wrote Columbia of Ohio President Jack Partridge. “Columbia is also installing automated meter reading devices on all residential and commercial meters over approximately five years, with completion scheduled for the end of 2013.”
Partridge said the IRP program benefits customers by relieving them of large repair bills if their service line develops a hazardous leak. Prior to 2008, the lines were customer-owned equipment.
“Our DSM programs produce both up-front and long-term savings for our customers,” said Partridge. “The up-front discounts include free or rebated programmable thermostats, high-efficiency showerheads, home energy audits, attic and wall insulation and air sealing, rebates on replacement high-efficiency gas heating equipment, as well as whole house weatherization for low income customers.”
Actual Rider IRP and Rider DSM rate changes are subject to approval by the PUCO.