HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today approved a pilot program that changes the way Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania (Columbia Gas), a gas distribution utility, will charge customers for line extension projects.
“I have been a staunch proponent of innovative programs to encourage the extension of natural gas into underserved and unserved areas of the Commonwealth,” said PUC Commissioner Pamela Witmer in a statement. “Pennsylvania sits on top of one of the largest natural gas reserves in the world. As a result, Pennsylvania consumers, residential and industrial, should have every reasonable opportunity to take advantage of this efficient and clean burning natural resource.”
PUC Commissioner James H. Cawley also issued a separate statement.
The Commission voted 5-0 to approve the company’s implementation of the Pilot Rider New Area Service (NAS) program. Under most natural gas company tariffs, a customer who wishes to have natural gas service extended to their property must pay the cost of that line extension, which can run in the thousands of dollars, as an up-front payment. The Pilot Rider NAS program allows customers to pay the extension costs over 20 years as an on-bill monthly surcharge. The monthly surcharge will remain the same for twenty years or until the customer pays off the remaining balance, whichever comes first.
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Docket No. R-2014-2407345