If the request by Columbia Gas of Maryland with the PSC is approved, will result in $29.7m investment for replacing pipeline infrastructure in the state

Columbia Gas

Image: Columbia Gas of Maryland has sought approval from the regulator to replace ageing infrastructure. Photo: Courtesy of PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay.

Columbia Gas of Maryland, a subsidiary of US utilities company NiSource, has filed a request with the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) to adjust base rates of its distribution service so it can continue replacing ageing pipeline infrastructure in the state.

This year, Columbia Gas of Maryland plans to invest $29.7m, with $24.4m in upgrading its ageing underground infrastructure.

Columbia Gas of Maryland president Mike Huwar said: “Our number one priority is maintaining the safety of our customers and the communities we serve.

“We have made, and will continue to make, substantial capital investments in our system to update the safe and reliable system we currently operate. We believe this filing provides a number of tangible benefits to our customers.”

Between 2007 and 2018, the company claims to have invested more than $146m in modernising and expanding its distribution system in the state. Of this, nearly $101m was dedicated for replacing more than 84 miles of ageing bare steel and cast iron pipes.

Huwar said: “We are proud of our pipeline replacement program and our ability to continue to serve our valued customers safely and reliably, but our work doesn’t stop there.

“We also remain committed to providing a positive customer experience through an educated and trained workforce focused on safely meeting or exceeding all federal and state requirements while operating our distribution system.”

The company has also sought permission from the Maryland Public Service Commission to adjust its distribution rates. If the adjustment rates are approved, average total bill for a residential customer who buys 70 therms of gas per month from the company is expected to increase from $84.86 to $91.62.

The average total bill for a small commercial customer buying 250 therms of gas per month would increase from $285.01 to $300.21 and the bill for an average industrial customer buying 3,740 therms of gas per month would increase from $2,914.99 per month to $2,956.78.