CLEVELAND, March 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
- Company proposes to double pipeline replacement spending
- Plan promotes continued system safety and reliability
- Accelerated investment will generate additional jobs and property tax payments revenues for local communities
As part of its ongoing efforts to maintain the safety and reliability of its pipeline system, Dominion East Ohio today sought Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) approval to accelerate its previously approved Pipeline Infrastructure Replacement (PIR) program.
If approved, Dominion East Ohio would nearly double its PIR spending to more than $200 million annually. When the program began in 2008 as a $2.7 billion, 25-year program, the company originally identified over 4,000 miles of older pipelines for replacement.
"Accelerating the pace of the program now would enable the company to invest more resources in the near term, bringing pipeline facilities up to current standards to ensure ongoing public safety and reduce operating costs over the longer term. Today's proposal underscores Dominion's commitment to investments in Ohio energy infrastructure, which will benefit our customers and the communities that we serve," said Anne E. Bomar, Dominion East Ohio senior vice president and general manager.
Residential customers currently pay $1.58 per month for the PIR Cost Recovery Charge intended to help fund the program. Under the current PUCO approval, that monthly amount can only be increased by as much as $1 each year. Beginning in 2012, Dominion East Ohio would propose to increase the monthly charge by no more than $2 each year to help recover the increased investment.
Dominion East Ohio customer base rates were last adjusted after a 2008 rate case. Since then, residential customer bills have declined by nearly $40 per month, primarily because of lower natural gas prices. Due to increased production in Ohio and nationally, natural gas prices are expected to remain low for years to come. Those reductions will more than offset the potential increases in PIR related costs for the entire 5-year reauthorization period sought by the company.
Expanding the program also would provide important economic benefits to northeast Ohio and elsewhere, including an additional $2 million in annual Dominion East Ohio property tax payments to local communities. More importantly, the program is expected to result in the creation of over 3,000 jobs at its peak. Accelerating the pace of pipeline replacements will reduce the total cost of the program, support the continuation of reliable and safe natural gas service, and provide an important economic benefit at a very challenging time in the regional economy.
Dominion (NYSE: D) is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 27,600 megawatts of generation. Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage system and serves retail energy customers in 14 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's website at www.dom.com.
SOURCE Dominion East Ohio