June 14, 2013--The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) voted last week to allow Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania Inc. to use a portion of its refund proceeds from Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company to increase funding of Dollar Energy, its low-income energy hardship fund (also known as a fuel fund).
The Commission voted 5-0 to approve the petition by Columbia Gas to use $228,306 of its $330,351 Tennessee refund proceeds to help its hardship fund. The remainder of the refund will be provided to small commercial and industrial customers receiving tariff sales services from Columbia.
In its petition, Columbia asserted that current economic conditions and a decreased availability of federal energy assistance funding have caused its customers to experience an increased need for payment assistance. Columbia Gas is receiving the refund from Tennessee due to a settlement approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at Docket Number RP11-1566, in relation to Tennessee's approved base rate increase for pipelines utilized by Columbia.
Columbia Gas provides natural gas service to 415,000 customers in 26 counties in Pennsylvania. This is the second year in a row it has provided industry settlement funds to its hardship fund.
Founded in 1983 in Western Pennsylvania by a coalition of community and business leaders, Dollar Energy Fund, Inc. has grown to become the largest hardship fund in Pennsylvania and one of the largest in the country. It now partners with utility companies across Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana and Texas.
Source: PA PUC