State utility agency to hold hearing on Columbia Gas surcharge request

The Maryland Public Service Commission will hold two public hearings this month on the application by Columbia Gas of Maryland to adopt a new gas system infrastructure and improvement plan and the surcharge to fund it.

Columbia’s program, known as STRIDE (for strategic infrastructure development and enhancement) would result in a monthly surcharge at the $2.00 rate cap for each residential customer and $6.95 for small commercial customers, effective January 1, 2019. Columbia serves approximately 33,000 customers in Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties through 658 miles of pipeline.

Columbia’s current STRIDE program was implemented as a result of legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 2013; the company’s program is scheduled to end in late 2018. For 2019-2023, Columbia plans to replace 42.5 miles of bare steel and cast iron mains and associated services, at a cost of $16-$19 million per year.

Members of the public who wish to comment on the matter may attend one or both of the hearings before Public Utility Law Judge Kristin Case Lawrence. The hearings are scheduled as follows:

–Wednesday, June 27 at 7 p.m. at Hagerstown Community College in the Career Programs Building, Room 131, at 11400 Robinwood Drive in Hagerstown.

–Thursday, June 28 at 7 p.m. at the Cumberland Ramada, Downtown in the Crown South Boardroom, 100 South George Street in Cumberland.

Filings in the case can be viewed or downloaded in the electronic docket for Case number 9479 at http://www.psc.state.md.us.

Written comments referencing Case No. 9479 may also be mailed by Friday, July 27 to: Terry J. Romine, Executive Secretary, Maryland Public Service Commission, William Donald Schaefer Tower, 6 St. Paul Street, 16th Floor, Baltimore, Md. 21202.

The Maryland Public Service Commission regulates electric and gas utilities, telephone companies (land lines), certain water and sewer companies, passenger motor vehicle carriers for hire (sedans, limousines, buses, Uber, Lyft), taxicab companies (in Baltimore City and County, Cumberland and Hagerstown) and bay pilot rates.

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