NOTICE OF FILING AND REQUEST FOR COMMENTS - D.P.U. 20-GAF-P1 - September 14, 2020

NOTICE OF FILING AND REQUEST FOR COMMENTS
D.P.U. 20-GAF-P1
September 14, 2020

Petition of Bay State Gas Company d/b/a Columbia Gas of Massachusetts pursuant to G.L. c. 164 and 220 CMR 6.04, 6.11 for approval of its 2020/21 peak local distribution adjustment factor and gas adjustment factor filings, effective November 1, 2020.

On July 31, 2020, Bay State Gas Company d/b/a Columbia Gas of Massachusetts (“Company” or “Bay State”) filed with the Department of Public Utilities (“Department”) its seasonal local distribution adjustment factor filing (“LDAF”), pursuant to G.L. c. 164 and 220 CMR 6.11. The filing includes the residential assistance adjustment factor (“RAAF”), remediation adjustment factor (“RAF”), attorney general consultant expense factor (“AGCEF”), energy efficiency surcharge (“EES”), and pension adjustment factor (“PAF”).1 The proposed rates are for effect November 1, 2020. The Department has docketed this petition as D.P.U. 20-GAF-P1.

The table below summarizes the proposed rates in dollars per therm:

Rate ClassLDAF
Residential0.3085
Small C&I0.1743
Medium C&I0.1229
Large C&I0.1098
X-Large C&I0.0967

If the Department approves the Company’s LDAFs as proposed, a typical residential heating (R-3) customer will see an average monthly bill increase of $2.71 or 2.41 percent, compared to the LDAF currently in effect. For specific bill impacts, please contact the Company as shown below.

The Company will file its peak gas adjustment factor filing (“GAF”) in this docket at least 45 days prior to the date on which the proposed GAFs are to be effective. The Company is required to file its peak GAF filing no later than September 17, 2020. Bay State may, at any time during the peak period, submit an amended GAF filing. The amended GAF filing must be submitted seven business days before the first billing cycle of the month in which it is proposed to take effect.

Any person interested in commenting on the LDAF filing may submit written comments no later than the close of business (5:00 p.m.) on Monday, September 28, 2020. Any person interested in commenting on the GAF filing may submit written comments no later than the close of business on Thursday, October 1, 2020. At this time, all filings will be submitted only in electronic format in recognition of the difficulty that parties and the Department may have filing and receiving original copies. On March 10, 2020, Governor Baker issued a state of emergency related to COVID-19 for the entire Commonwealth. Ordinarily, all parties would follow Sections B.1 and B.4 of the Department’s Standard Ground Rules (D.P.U. 15-184-A, App. 1 (March 4, 2020)); however, until further notice, parties must retain the original paper version, and the Department will later determine when the paper version must be filed with the Department Secretary. Importantly, all large files submitted must be broken down into electronic files that do not exceed 20MB. In addition, one copy of all written comments should be emailed to the Company’s attorney, Kenneth Christman, Esq., at kchrist@nisource.com.

All documents should be submitted to the Department in PDF format by e-mail attachment to peter.ray@mass.gov and katherine.goyette@mass.gov. The text of the e-mail must specify: (1) the docket number of the proceeding (D.P.U. 20-GAF-P1); (2) the name of the person or company submitting the filing; and (3) a brief descriptive title of the document. All documents submitted in electronic format will be posted on the Department’s website as soon as practicable at http://www.mass.gov/dpu. The e-mail must also include the name, title, and telephone number of a person to contact in the event of questions about the filing. To the extent a person or entity wishes to submit comments in accordance with this Notice, electronic submission, as detailed above, is sufficient. To request materials in accessible formats (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), contact the Department’s ADA coordinator at DPUADACoordinator@state.ma.us.

The Company’s filing and all subsequent related documents, pleadings and/or filings submitted to the Department and/or issued by the Department will be available on the Department’s website as soon as is practicable at https://eeaonline.eea.state.ma.us/DPU/Fileroom/dockets/bynumber (enter “20-GAF-P1”). A paper copy of the filing will not be available for public viewing at the Company’s offices or the Department’s office due to the state of emergency. Any person desiring further information regarding the Company’s filing or a paper copy of the filing should contact Kenneth Christman, Esq., at kchrist@nisource.com. For further information regarding this Notice, please contact Katherine Lee Goyette, Hearing Officer, Department of Public Utilities, at katherine.goyette@mass.gov.

NOTICE OF FILING AND REQUEST FOR COMMENTS - D.P.U. 20-84 - September 9, 2020

Notice of Filing and Request for Comments

D.P.U. 20-84
September 9, 2020

Petition of Bay State Gas Company d/b/a Columbia Gas of Massachusetts for approval of its annual pension adjustment factor reconciliation filing for effect November 1, 2020.

On July 31, 2020, Bay State Gas Company d/b/a Columbia Gas of Massachusetts (“Company”) filed a petition with the Department of Public Utilities (“Department”) for approval of its annual pension and post-retirement benefits other than pensions (“PBOP”) adjustment factors (“PAFs”). The Company made this filing pursuant to Bay State Gas Company, D.P.U. 05-27 (2005); Bay State Gas Company, D.P.U. 15-50 (2015); and M.D.P.U. No. 324. The Department has docketed this matter as D.P.U. 20-84. In separate filings, the Company is proposing other changes to its rates effective November 1, 2020, that may also have an impact on customers’ bills. See Bay State Gas Company, D.P.U. 20-GAF-P1.

The Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (“Attorney General”) filed a notice to intervene in this matter pursuant to G.L. c. 12, § 11E(a). Further, pursuant to G.L. c. 12, § 11E(b), the Attorney General filed a notice of intent to retain experts and consultants to assist her investigation of the Company’s filing, and has requested Department approval to spend up to $150,000 in this regard. Pursuant to G.L. c. 12, § 11E(b), the costs incurred by the Attorney General relative to her retention of experts and consultants may be recovered in the Company’s rates. Any person who desires to comment on the Attorney General’s notice of intent to retain experts and consultants may submit written comments to the Department not later than the close of business (5:00 p.m.) on Wednesday, September 30, 2020.

The Company proposes the following PAFs, effective November 1, 2020, and included for billing purposes in the Company’s local distribution adjustment factor:

Rate Classes PAF (per therm)
Residential (R-1, R-2, R-3, R-4, T-R1, T-R2, T-R3, and T-R4) $0.0199
Commercial/Industrial Low Annual Use (G-40, G-50, T-40, T-50) $0.0218
Commercial/Industrial Medium Annual Use (G-41, G-51, T-41, T-51) $0.0095
Commercial/Industrial High Annual Use (G-42, G-52, T-42, T-52) $0.0063
Commercial/Industrial Extra High Annual Use (G-43, G-53, T-43, T-53) $0.0044

On March 10, 2020, Governor Baker issued Executive Order No. 591, Declaration of a State of Emergency to Respond to COVID-19, which required the closing of certain brick and mortar premises, including the Department’s offices, and limited gatherings of more than ten people. Any person interested in commenting on this matter or to participate otherwise in this proceeding shall file electronic written comments or a petition for leave to intervene no later than the close of business (5:00 p.m.) on September 30, 2020. Written comments from the public may be sent by email to peter.ray@mass.gov, henry.d.kahn@mass.gov, and the Company’s attorney, Kenneth Christman, Esq., at kchrist@nisource.com. Ordinarily, all parties would follow Sections B.1 and B.4 of the Department’s Standard Ground Rules (D.P.U. 15-184-A, App. 1 (March 4, 2020)). However, due to the Commonwealth state of emergency, until further notice, parties must retain the original paper version, and the Department will later determine when the paper version must be filed with the Department Secretary. Importantly, all large files submitted must be broken down into electronic files that do not exceed 20MB. The Department strongly encourages public comments to be submitted by email. If, however, a member of the public is unable to send written comments by email, a paper copy may be sent to Mark D. Marini, Secretary, Department of Public Utilities, One South Station, 5th Floor, Boston, Massachusetts, 02110, as well as to the Company’s attorney, Kenneth Christman, Esq., NiSource Corporate Services Company, 121 Champion Way, Suite 100, Canonsburg, PA 14317.

A petition for leave to intervene must satisfy the timing and substantive requirements of 220 CMR 1.03. 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.

Documents provided to the Department must specify: (1) the docket number of the proceeding (D.P.U. 20-84); (2) the name of the person or company submitting the filing; (3) a brief descriptive title of the document; and (4) the name, title, email address, and telephone number of a person to contact in the event of questions about the filing.

The Company’s filing and all related documents submitted to the Department or issued by the Department will be available on the Department’s website as soon as is practicable at https://eeaonline.eea.state.ma.us/DPU/Fileroom/dockets/bynumber (enter “20-84”). A paper copy of the filing will not be available for public viewing at the Company’s offices or the Department due to the State of Emergency. To request materials in accessible formats (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format) for people with disabilities, contact the Department’s ADA coordinator at DPUADACoordinator@state.ma.us.

Any person desiring further information regarding the Company’s filing should contact counsel for the Company, Kenneth Christman, Esq. at (724) 416-6315 or kchrist@nisource.com. For further information regarding this notice, please contact Henry Kahn, Hearing Officer, Department of Public Utilities, at henry.d.kahn@mass.gov.

NOTICE OF FILING AND REQUEST FOR COMMENTS - D.P.U. 20-83 - September 2, 2020

Notice of Filing and Request for Comments

D.P.U. 20-83
September 2, 2020

Petition of Bay State Gas Company d/b/a Columbia Gas of Massachusetts for approval of its Revenue Decoupling Adjustment Factors for the 2020 Peak Period, November 1, 2020, through April 30, 2021.

On July 31, 2020, Bay State Gas Company d/b/a Columbia Gas of Massachusetts (“Company”) filed a petition with the Department of Public Utilities (“Department”) for approval of its revenue decoupling adjustment factors (“RDAFs”), for effect November 1, 2020. This filing was made pursuant to Bay State Gas Company, D.P.U. 15-50 (2016), and the Company’s revenue decoupling adjustment clause (“RDAC”) tariff, M.D.P.U. No. 285A. The RDAC allows the Company to modify, on a semi-annual basis, its base distribution rates as a result of changes in customer usage, in order to promote the efficient deployment of demand resources. Bay State Gas Company, D.P.U. 09-30, at 25-26, 87 (2009). The Department has docketed this petition as D.P.U. 20-83.

The Company proposes RDAF charges of $0.0124 per therm for residential customers, $0.0123 per therm for low annual commercial and industrial customers (“C&I”), $0.0070 per therm for medium annual C&I customers, $0.0061 per therm for high annual C&I customers, and $0.0048 per therm for extra high annual C&I customers, effective November 1, 2020 through April 30, 2021. As a result of the proposed changes to the RDAF, the average residential heating customer using approximately 132 therms per month during the peak period will experience a bill increase of $4.00 per month, or about 2.15 percent, as compared to bills during the previously effective peak RDAF. The Company states that the average monthly bill impact for all rate classes at each class’s average use during the peak period will range from a decrease of 0.31 percent to an increase of 2.41 percent as compared to bills during last year’s peak period. For specific bill impacts, please contact the Company as shown below.

On March 10, 2020, Governor Baker issued Executive Order No. 591, Declaration of a State of Emergency to Respond to COVID-19, which required the closing of certain brick and mortar premises, including the Department’s offices, and limited gatherings of more than ten people. Any person interested in commenting on this matter may submit written comments no later than the close of business (5:00 p.m.) on October 16, 2020. Written comments from the public may be sent by email to peter.ray@mass.gov, Stephanie.Mealey@mass.gov, and the Company’s attorney, Kenneth Christman, at kchrist@nisource.com. The Department strongly encourages public comments to be submitted by email. If, however, a member of the public is unable to send written comments by email, a paper copy may be sent to Mark D. Marini, Secretary, Department of Public Utilities, One South Station, 5th Floor, Boston, Massachusetts, 02110, as well as to the Company’s attorney, Kenneth W. Christman, NiSource Corporate Services Company, 121 Champion Way, Suite 100, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania 15317.

Documents provided to the Department must specify: (1) the docket number of the proceeding (D.P.U. 20-83); (2) the name of the person or company submitting the filing; (3) a brief descriptive title of the document; and (4) the name, title, email address, and telephone number of a person to contact in the event of questions about the filing.

The Company’s filing and all related documents submitted to the Department or issued by the Department will be available on the Department’s website as soon as is practicable at https://eeaonline.eea.state.ma.us/DPU/Fileroom/dockets/bynumber (enter “20-83”). A paper copy of the filing will not be available for public viewing at the Company’s offices or the Department due to the State of Emergency. To request materials in accessible formats (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format) for people with disabilities, contact the Department’s ADA coordinator at DPUADACoordinator@state.ma.us.

Any person desiring further information regarding the Company’s filing or a paper copy of the filing should contact counsel for the Company, Kenneth W. Christman, at (724) 416-6315 or kchrist@nisource.com. For further information regarding this notice, please contact Stephanie Mealey, Hearing Officer, Department of Public Utilities, at Stephanie.Mealey@mass.gov.

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