Columbia Gas of Ohio customers to see rate adjustments after settlement agreement

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) adopted a settlement agreement Monday adjusting Columbia Gas of Ohio’s rates to reflect the lower corporate tax rates (WSYX/WTTE)

Columbia Gas of Ohio agreed to a settlement that will have them crediting customers money in order to reflect lower corporate tax rates.

The tax benefit to Columbia customers is expected to total $300 million after the company agreed to a settlement with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Monday. The gas company will credit customers the amount it's over collected, along with interest, since January 1 under the higher tax rate. The $22.5 million credit will be given back to all customers over a year-long period, which breaks down to a $1.06 credit on each customer's monthly bill.

The lower tax rates came as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Under the agreement, Columbia Gas is also going to reduce its base distribution rates by $121 million to reflect the drop in their corporate income tax rate.

As part of the capital expenditure program to pay for improvements, Columbia will start collecting more money to cover the $74 million cost. But there will be a yearly rate cap to help alleviate some of the additional costs for customers. Initially, it will be set at $3.51 a month.

PUCO says as part of an ongoing proceeding about the infrastructure replacement program and total tax reductions customers should see bigger monthly savings. The Ohio Consumers' Counsel says based on negotiations, Columbia Gas agreed to an increase in charges for the distribution system that were several hundred million dollars less, helping save people money.

A copy of Wedneday’s Commission opinion and order is available on PUCO’s website by searching for case 17-2202-GA-ALT.

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