MERRILLVILLE, Ind., April 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Columbia Gas of Virginia, a subsidiary of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI), has filed today with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) a request to recover investments and other costs associated with the Company's ongoing proactive initiatives to improve the overall safety and reliability of its natural gas distribution system and to accommodate increasing demand for service.
"The foundational commitment to our customers is simple - provide safe and dependable natural gas service at a reasonable price, period," said Brent Archer, President of Columbia Gas of Virginia. "Our ongoing investments in our modernization program, combined with pipeline safety initiatives and our efforts to deploy a well-trained, qualified workforce continues to make our system safer and more reliable, which provides tangible benefits to all our customers."
If approved by the SCC, the request would increase the total monthly natural gas bill for a typical residential customer by $9.14 per month or 13.9%. This comparison is based on the rates in effect as of March 2016 and 5.8 Dth (Dekatherm) in monthly usage. Columbia Gas has requested that the new rates become effective October 1, 2016.
"Historically low and sustained natural gas commodity costs help us to be proactive in improving the safety and reliability of our system by managing the costs related to the modernization and safety of our infrastructure against the overall bill impact to our customers," Archer said. "For example, the proposed rates result in a typical residential bill that is approximately $1.60 less than the average bill over the past 10 years."
The filing, which requests a total increase in revenues of $37 million per year, marks the beginning of the public process of setting base rates for a regulated utility, as required by the SCC. A decision on the filing could occur by early next year.
"We are proud of our modernization and integrity management programs and the process we use to identify, analyze and replace the pipe and other facilities most at risk," said Phil Wilson, Columbia Gas of Virginia Vice President and General Manager of Operations. "We are deploying advanced technology and employee training to further advance our ability to operate and maintain our system for the benefit of the customers and communities we serve."
Columbia Gas was last authorized to increase its base rates effective October 1, 2014. Base rates include those costs associated with the delivery, distribution and customer services operations for Columbia Gas. Base rates currently represent approximately 57 percent of a customer's total bill. The remaining 43 percent are the natural gas commodity costs and are not included in the base rate adjustment requested in this case. These commodity costs are instead directly passed through to the customer on a dollar-for-dollar basis. Natural gas commodity costs have been relatively low due to an abundant domestic supply.
About Columbia Gas of Virginia
Columbia Gas of Virginia delivers safe, reliable and clean natural gas to over 257,000 customers in portions of Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, suburban Richmond, Central Virginia, and the Shenandoah Valley, the Lynchburg region and parts of Western Virginia. NiSource (NYSE: NI) is one of the largest fully-regulated utility companies in the United States, serving approximately 3.5 million natural gas customers and 500,000 electric customers through its local Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands. More information about Columbia Gas of Virginia and NiSource is available at www.columbiagasva.com and www.nisource.com. Always call 811 before you dig and Dig with CARE.
NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) is one of the largest fully-regulated utility companies in the United States, serving approximately 3.5 million natural gas customers and 500,000 electric customers across seven states through its local Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands. Based in Merrillville, Indiana, NiSource's more than 7,500 employees are focused on safely delivering reliable and affordable energy to our customers and communities we serve. NiSource has been designated a World's Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute since 2012 and 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. NI-F
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties. Examples of forward-looking statements in this release include statement regarding the business, performance, infrastructure investments and growth of NiSource and its subsidiaries, including Columbia Gas. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the projections, forecasts, estimates, plans and expectations discussed in this release include, but are not limited to, economic regulation and the impact of regulatory rate reviews; compliance with environmental laws and the costs of associated liabilities; potential incidents and other operating risks associated with our business; the impact of an aging infrastructure; risks associated with construction and natural gas cost and supply; extreme weather conditions; uncertainties related to the expected benefits of the separation of Columbia Pipeline Group and other matters referenced in the "Risk Factors" section in NiSource's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015 and in other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. NiSource expressly disclaims any duty to update, supplement or amend any of its forward-looking statements contained in this release, whether as a result of new information, subsequent events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law.
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SOURCE Columbia Gas of Virginia