Columbia Gas seeks rate increase in Maryland

by Kate Shunney

Columbia Gas of Maryland has filed a request with the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) to raise their gas rates for residential and commercial customers, with the rate hike to go into effect in December of this year.

Company officials said revenue from the higher rates – an estimated annual increase to the company of $6.3 million – would pay for “further upgrading and replacing portions of the company’s underground natural gas distribution pipelines” in Maryland.

Columbia Gas is proposing rate increases that would raise the average total bill of a residential customer buying 70 therms of gas per month from $97.65 per month to $108.73 – an 11.35% increase.

If approved, the total monthly bill for a small commercial customer buying 250 therms of gas per month would rise from $322 to $350 per month, an 8.57% increase.

If approved, the total monthly bill for an industrial customer purchasing 4,590 therms of gas would rise from $3,921 to $4,166 per month – a 6.23% increase.

Customers can make comments to the PSC about Columbia Gas’ rate proposal by contacting the Maryland Office of People’s Counsel at 1-800-207-4055 or by email at  OPC@maryland.gov. The OPC represents rate-payers and consumers in Public Service Commission cases.

“Ensuring the continued, long-term safety of the customers and communities we serve is essential, and it requires the necessary level of investment to modernize our energy infrastructure for generations to come,” said Mark Kempic, Columbia Gas President and Chief Operating Officer. “This proposal seeks to balance cost and service in order to continue delivering on our commitments to customers.”

Company officials said the rate hike will add to their “previous and future investments across the Western Maryland area served by Columbia Gas.”

The PSC will review the company’s request and issue a ruling about the rate increase later this year.

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