Columbia Gas Rate Increase 2022

CONSUMER ALERT:
COLUMBIA GAS ASKS PUCO FOR A $212 MILLION (27%) RATE HIKE. MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!

Ohio Consumers’ Counsel:

"Columbia’s $212 million rate increase request would increase the distribution portion of a typical residential consumer’s bill by 27%. The PUCO should deny $202 million of Columbia’s $212 million rate increase request."

The PUCO will decide how much Columbia can charge its consumers, after it hears from the public and case participants. The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC) is representing residential consumers in the case.

What:

An opportunity to share your views on Columbia Gas’ request to increase monthly bills for natural gas distribution service.

columbia gas rate increase 2022When and Where to Make Your Voice Heard:

  • 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 1, 2022 — City Council Chambers of City Hall, 218 Cleveland Ave. SW, Canton, Ohio 44702
  • 6 p.m. Thursday, June 2, 2022 — Simpson Garden Park, Banquet Room of Simpson Building, 1291 Conneaut Ave., Bowling Green, Ohio 43402
  • 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 7, 2022 — City Council Chambers of Athens City Building, Third Floor, 8 East Washington St., Athens, Ohio 45701
  • 6 p.m. Thursday, June 9, 2022 — Whetstone Park Shelter House, 3901 North High St., Columbus, Ohio 43085 
  • 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, 2022 — Council Chambers of Zanesville City Hall, 401 Market St., Zanesville, Ohio 43701

How:

In-Person: OCC offers tips on how to testify at local public hearings at: http://bit.ly/how-to-testify 

Online: Click on “File a Public Comment” at https://bit.ly/Columbia-rate-2022.

By Mail: Send a letter referencing Columbia Gas and PUCO Case 21-637 to: Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, 180 E. Broad St., 11th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215.

Columbia Gas Proposal:

Columbia Gas is requesting a $212 million rate increase (a 27% increase) in consumers’ monthly bills for natural gas distribution service. Distribution service is the delivery of natural gas through pipelines to consumers’ homes and businesses. Columbia’s delivery charges and the charges for the supply of natural gas are separate parts of consumers’ bills.

Columbia’s proposal would nearly triple its current fixed monthly distribution charge from $16.75 to $46.31. Columbia proposes that in five years residential consumers could be paying up to $80 per month in fixed charges, before they use even a single unit of natural gas. Higher fixed charges favor utilities by guaranteeing their revenues, at the expense of consumers' ability to lower their bills by reducing usage.

Consumers’ Counsel’s Proposal:

columbia gas rate increaseRate Increase:

  • Columbia’s proposed rate increase of $212 million is about $202 million too high.
  • The PUCO Staff’s proposed rate increase of $35 million to $58 million is too high.
  • OCC proposes that the PUCO limit the rate increase to about $10 million.

Profits:

  • Columbia proposes to charge an 11% profit to consumers.
  • The PUCO Staff proposes a profit for Columbia of 9% to 10% to charge to consumers.   
  • OCC proposes limiting Columbia’s profit to 8.7%.

Fixed Charges:

  • Columbia proposes increasing its monthly fixed charges from $16.75 to $46.31 now and then up to $80 monthly in five years. Higher fixed charges result in lower per-unit charges.
  • OCC opposes high fixed charges because they deny consumers the ability to lower their gas bills by reducing usage.

​Some of the Other Issues:

  • OCC-Columbia-Gas-Rate-Increase-2022Columbia has bad timing for a rate increase, given many Ohioans’ financial difficulties from the pandemic, soaring energy prices, inflation, poverty, and the possibility of a recession. 
  • OCC opposes Columbia’s requests to charge consumers for certain executive bonuses and a $300,000 exercise facility at the utility's headquarters. The CEO of Columbia Gas’s parent company made $9.5 million in compensation in 2021.
  • OCC asks for a $10 million bill-payment assistance program for low-income and working-poor consumers, funded by Columbia’s stockholders.
  • All of OCC’s objections can be seen at: https://bit.ly/occ-objections-columbia-22

Want to Know More?

Here is a link to the case docket with all the filings from the participants: https://bit.ly/Columbia-rate-2022.

Rate Case Questions?

Call or e-mail the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, your advocate, at 1-877-742-5622 or occ@occ.ohio.gov


 

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