Contact: Bob Innes
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Nov. 29, 2011 - Columbia Gas of Virginia will invest $100 million over the next five years as part of a natural gas infrastructure modernization plan approved by the Virginia State Corporation Commission. The plan provides Columbia Gas the ability to accelerate the replacement of aging natural gas infrastructure across its service territory.
“With the approval of this initiative, Columbia Gas now has the regulatory framework in place to accelerate the process of upgrading older portions of our underground pipeline system,” said Carl Levander, Columbia’s president. “In addition to the operational benefits of this system upgrade, this multi-year program will benefit Virginia’s economy by creating employment opportunities through the additional construction related jobs needed to replace aging facilities, providing for continuing investments in the communities we serve, and leading to the creation of a more modern and efficient natural gas delivery system.”
On June 1, 2011, Columbia Gas of Virginia filed its plan with the Virginia State Corporation Commission to replace certain types of facilities that qualify under the SAVE Act (Steps To Advance Virginia’s Energy Plan), which was signed into law by Governor Bob McDonnell in 2010. The SAVE Act established a regulatory framework for Virginia’s natural gas utilities to invest in replacing older infrastructure and recovering the costs for such replacements in a timely manner. The SAVE Plan filed by Columbia and approved by the State Corporation Commission is a 5-year program under which Columbia will identify and replace those facilities most prone to operational issues.
“By proactively improving our distribution infrastructure with new state-of-the-art facilities, we will enhance the safety and integrity of the services we provide to our customers by accelerating the replacement of those sections of the natural gas system most prone to issues related to age or condition,” said Dan Cote, general manager operations for Columbia Gas.
The types of facilities that are eligible for replacement and recovery under Columbia’s SAVE plan include bare steel and cast iron facilities, as well as older infrastructure constructed from other materials that are nearing the end of their operational lives. The Plan also minimizes the financial impact on customers by phasing in the cost of the program over a multi-year period. The cost impact of the program on residential customers in 2012 will be $0.36 per month.
About Columbia Gas of Virginia
Columbia Gas of Virginia delivers safe, reliable and clean natural gas to customers in portions of Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, suburban Richmond, Central Virginia, and the Shenandoah Valley, the Lynchburg region and parts of Western Virginia. With headquarters in Chesterfield County, the company is one of the 7 energy distribution companies of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) serving 3.8 million natural gas and electric customers. Always call 811 before you dig and Dig with CARE. Learn more at www.ColumbiaGasVa.com.