MERRILLVILLE, Ind., May 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Columbia Gas of Kentucky, a subsidiary of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI), has filed today with the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) 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. The company last filed a request to increase rates in 2013.
"Safety is the top priority for Columbia Gas of Kentucky and is the focal point of this request," said Columbia Gas of Kentucky President Herbert A. Miller, Jr. "Our customers and our communities rely on the safety and reliability of our system and the well-trained staff that stands ready to serve them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."
In 2008, Columbia initiated an Accelerated Main Replacement Program (AMRP) as a proactive approach to replace aging infrastructure. Since the program began, Columbia has invested approximately $92 million and replaced approximately 108 miles or 570,240 feet of aging main lines and associated service lines. Costs associated with this program have appeared as a line item on customer bills, which would be rolled up into the base rates as a part of this request. The AMRP line item would decrease to zero.
Columbia's request also includes funds for a new local training center that is designed to provide employees with enhanced training and operator qualification programs. Technology advances would also be implemented for location and inspection of pipelines as well as emergency notification and response.
In addition to continued system safety and reliability, customers would benefit from an improved online experience driven by technology advances, including enhancements to the company's online bill payment process.
Columbia is requesting an overall increase in revenues of $25.4 million. This translates to an increase of about $11.35 on an average residential customer's monthly bill and an increase of about $37.32 on an average commercial customer's monthly bill.
The company's Gas Supply Cost, which can represent as much as 50 percent of the customer's monthly bill, remains at its lowest level in over 20 years. "Historically low and sustained natural gas commodity prices have helped keep customer bills low," Miller said. "With these proposed changes, a residential customer's average monthly bill will still be almost $25 less than in 2008."
About Columbia Gas of Kentucky
Columbia Gas of Kentucky delivers clean, affordable and efficient natural gas to approximately 135,000 customers across the state. Headquartered in Lexington, it is one of NiSource's seven regulated utility companies. More information about Columbia is available at www.ColumbiaGasKy.com.
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 statements regarding the business, performance, infrastructure investments and growth of NiSource and its subsidiaries, including Columbia. 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 NiSource Inc.