Columbia Gas of Massachusetts is filing a petition with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to increase annual revenues by $24.1 million, representing a 3.9 percent increase in current operating revenues.
The request addresses increases in operating and maintenance costs incurred to comply with increasingly stringent federal and state regulatory mandates and capital costs incurred to upgrade gas infrastructure since the last time Columbia Gas changed its rates in 2016.
The DPU decision is expected by February 28, 2019, with rates taking effect March 1, 2019.
The Columbia Gas request is reduced by the impact of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which became effective on January 1, 2018.
The request includes a proposal for a refund to customers of $9.1 million, beginning on the effective date of the revised rates, related to the benefit of the tax cut as of January 1, 2018.
If approved by the DPU, the change would impact the annual gas bill for a typical residential heating customer by an average of $4.95 per month, or 3.6 percent.
In the first year after the rates take effect, the $9.1 million refund due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will reduce the customer bill impact to an average of $2.80 per month, or 2 percent.
The portion of a customer's bill referred to as base rates only includes those costs associated with the delivery, distribution and customer services operations for Columbia Gas.
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