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D.P.U. 17-142 - NOTICE OF FILING, PUBLIC HEARING, AND EVIDENTIARY HEARING

Oct 03, 2017

Petition of Bay State Gas Company d/b/a Columbia Gas of Massachusetts for authorization and approval to issue long-term debt in the principal amount of up to $155,000,000, pursuant to G.L. c. 164, §14; and for an exemption from the competitive solicitation and advertising requirements of G.L. c. 164, §15.

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On September 15, 2017, Bay State Gas Company d/b/a Columbia Gas of Massachusetts ("Company") filed with the Department of Public Utilities ("Department"), a petition for approval and authorization to issue and sell long-term, unsecured promissory notes in an aggregate amount not to exceed $155,000,000, at face value, to its affiliate, NiSource Finance Corp., pursuant to G.L. c. 164, §14. The Company proposes to apply up to $120,000,000 of the proceeds of the proposed financing: (1) to fund its ongoing capital expenditure program, which includes the replacement of non-cathodically protected steel mains and other utility plant facilities; (2) to pay down short-term debt incurred to finance capital expenditures and operating costs; and (3) for an $18,000,000 pension contribution. The remainder will be used to refinance a $35,000,000 long-term note maturing in December 2019. The Company seeks to issue notes over a 24-month period following Department approval of the proposed financing, and anticipates issuing notes for terms of between one and 30 years. The Company also seeks an exemption from the competitive solicitation and advertising requirements of G.L. c. 164, §15. The Department docketed this petition as D.P.U. 17-142.

The Department will conduct a public hearing to receive comments on the Company’s petition, immediately followed by an evidentiary hearing. The hearings will take place on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, at 10:00 a.m., at the Department’s offices located at One South Station – 5th Floor, Boston, Massachusetts 02110. Any person who desires to comment may do so at the time and place noted above or may submit written comments to the Department not later than the close of business (5:00 p.m.) on November 14, 2017.

Any person who desires to participate in the evidentiary phase of this proceeding must file a written petition for leave to intervene with the Department not later than the close of business (5:00 p.m.) on Friday, October 20, 2017. A petition for leave to intervene must satisfy the timing and substantive requirements of 220 CMR 1.03, including a description of the manner in which the petitioner is substantially and specifically affected by this proceeding. Receipt by the Department, not mailing, constitutes filing and determines whether a petition has been timely filed. A petition filed late may be disallowed as untimely, unless good cause is shown for waiver under 220 CMR 1.01(4). To be allowed, a petition under 220 CMR 1.03(1) must satisfy the standing requirements of G.L. c. 30A, §10.

An original hard copy of all written comments or petitions to intervene must be filed with Mark D. Marini, Secretary, Department of Public Utilities, One South Station, 5th Floor, Boston, Massachusetts 02110. One copy of all documents must also be sent to Alice Davey, Hearing Officer at the Department of Public Utilities. One copy of all documents should also be sent to the Company’s attorney, Shaela McNulty Collins, Esq., NiSource Corporate Services Company, 4 Technology Drive, Suite 250, Westborough, Massachusetts 01581.

All documents should also be submitted to the Department in electronic format using one of the following methods: (1) by e-mail attachment to dpu.efiling@state.ma.us and to the Hearing Officer, Alice Davey, Alice.Davey@state.ma.us, or (2) on a CD-ROM. The text of the e-mail or CD-ROM must specify: (1) the docket number of the proceeding (D.P.U. 17-142); (2) the name of the person or company submitting the filing; and (3) a brief descriptive title of the document. The electronic filing should also include the name, title, and telephone number of a person to contact in the event of questions about the filing. All documents submitted in electronic format will be posted on the Department’s website: http://www.mass.gov/dpu.

A copy of the Company’s petition is available for public viewing during regular business hours at the Department’s offices, One South Station - 5th Floor, Boston, Massachusetts 02110 and on the Department’s website at http://www.mass.gov/dpu. Documents on the Department’s website may be accessed by docket number (D.P.U. 17-142) in the file room at http://web1.env.state.ma.us/DPU/FileRoom/dockets/bynumber.

To request materials in accessible formats (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), contact the Department’s ADA Coordinator at DPUADACoordinator@state.ma.us or (617) 305-3642. A copy of the petition is also available for public viewing during regular business hours at the Company’s Offices, 4 Technology Drive, Suite 250, Westborough, Massachusetts 01581.

Reasonable accommodations at public or evidentiary hearings for people with disabilities are available upon request. Contact the Department’s ADA Coordinator at DPUADACoordinator@state.ma.us or (617) 305-3642. Include a description of the accommodation you will need, including as much detail as you can. Also include a way the Department can contact you if we need more information. Please provide as much advance notice as possible. Last minute requests will be accepted, but may not be able to be accommodated.

Any person desiring further information regarding the Company’s filing should contact counsel for the Company, Shaela McNulty, Esq., at (508) 836-7038. Any person desiring further information regarding this notice should contact Alice Davey, Hearing Officer, Department of Public Utilities, at (617) 305-3608.