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Press Release

PUC Reminds Consumers of Upcoming Public Input Hearings on Proposed Rate Increase for Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania Inc.

Published on 5/14/2024

Filed under: Consumer Education Gas

In-Person Hearings in Washington County on May 21 Followed by Telephonic Hearings; Individuals Must Pre-Register to Testify During a May 22 Telephonic Hearing

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today reminded consumers and other concerned parties about the in-person and telephonic public input hearings scheduled for Tuesday, May 21, 2024, and Wednesday, May 22, 2024, regarding a proposed rate increase by Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania Inc. (Columbia Gas).

Additionally, the PUC reminded consumers that the Wednesday public input hearings will be telephonic hearings only and pre-registration is required by 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, for individuals and interested parties wishing to testify during either telephonic hearing scheduled for that day. 


PUC Public Input Hearings

A total of four public input hearings have been scheduled:  two in-person hearings on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, followed by two telephonic hearings on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. 

The full two-day schedule is as follows:

  • Tuesday, May 21, 2024 – Washington, Washington County
    Hearing #1 will begin at 1 p.m.
    Hearing #2 will begin at 6 p.m.

    Both hearings will be held at the following location:

    Washington County Courthouse
    Courtroom #2
    1 South Main Street
    Washington, PA  15301

Additionally, two telephonic public input hearings have been scheduled for the following date and times:

  • Wednesday, May 22, 2024
    Hearing #1 will begin at 1 p.m.
    Hearing #2 will begin at 6 p.m.
    * Registration deadline is 10 a.m. on May 22, 2024

PUC Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Watson will preside over the hearings.


Signing Up for the Telephonic Public Input Hearings

IN-PERSON HEARINGS:  Pre-registration is not required in order to testify at an in-person public input hearing. There will be a sign-up sheet in the hearing room.

TELEPHONIC HEARINGS: If you wish to testify at a May 22, 2024, telephonic public input hearing, you must pre-register with the PUC’s Office of Administrative Law Judge.

Individuals will testify in the order in which they pre-register.

To pre-register to testify by telephone, please contact the Judge Watson’s legal assistant, Mary Swarner, no later than 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, either by phone at (412) 565-3555 or by email at mswarner@pa.gov. If you do not register in advance, you may not be able to testify.

When registering, please provide the following:

  • Your first and last name.
  • The date and time of the public hearing at which you wish to testify.
  • The phone number you will be using to call into the hearing.
  • A phone number where you can be reached prior to the hearing, if different.
  • Your address and email address (if you have one).
  • If you require an interpreter to participate in the hearing, the language of the interpreter.

If you do not wish to testify, but want to listen to the public input hearings, you do not need to register. Instead, you may call into the hearing using the call-in information listed in the hearing notice.


Interpreters and Assistance Registering

If you require an interpreter, please pre-register as soon as possible.  If you register too close to the hearing date, we may not have enough time to arrange for an interpreter.  If you request an interpreter, we will make every reasonable effort to have one present. 

If you need assistance pre-registering to testify, you may have someone register for you, but they will need to provide all the information listed above.  Additionally, if more than one person in your household would like to testify, one person may pre-register for other individuals in the same household, but all the information listed above is needed for each individual testifying. 

Relay service number for persons who are deaf or hearing-impaired is 800-654-5988.


Hearing Exhibits

If you have any hearing exhibits to which you will refer during the hearing, please email them to the Mary Swarner at mswarner@pa.gov.  Ms. Swarner will forward your exhibits to all parties.

Exhibits for the in-person public input hearings on May 21, 2024, must be received by 10 a.m. on May 21, 2024. Exhibits for the telephonic public input hearings on May 22, 2024, must be received by 10 a.m. on May 22, 2024.


Offering Testimony at a Public Input Hearing

The PUC offers tips on how to participate in a public input hearing, including:

  • Prepare what you are going to say beforehand. Even though it is not required, you may want to write out your statement, which can be read.
  • Any formal testimony that is offered during the hearing will become part of the record on which the PUC will issue its final decision.
  • Understand that parties in the case may want to ask you a question to clarify something you said.


PUC Investigation of Columbia Gas’ Proposed Rate Increase

On April 4, 2024, the Commission voted 5-0 to investigate Columbia’s rate increase request, which was filed on March 15, 2024.

The changes proposed by Columbia would produce an overall operating revenue increase of $124.1 million (15.79%) per year.  Under the proposal, the total monthly bill for a residential customer using 70 therms of gas would increase from $118.16 to $136.92 (15.88%).

For Columbia’s commercial customers, the total monthly bill for a small commercial customer using 150 therms of gas would increase from $196.43 to $226.24 (15.18%).  Rates for a small industrial customer using 1,215 therms of gas per month would increase from $1,281.25 to $1,452.98 (13.4%).

A final PUC decision on Columbia’s rate increase request is due by Dec. 14, 2024.

Columbia Gas provides natural gas distribution services to approximately 444,200 customers in portions of 26 counties across western and south-central Pennsylvania.


About the PUC

Visit the PUC’s website at www.puc.pa.gov for recent news releases and video of select proceedings. You can also follow us on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. Search for the “Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission” or “PA PUC” on your favorite social media channel for updates on utility issues and other helpful consumer information.

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Docket No.:  R-2024-3046519

Contact:

 

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