East / Regional Reports

Yankee Gas Files Rate Request; Gas Hookup Offered to More Customers

August 8, 2001
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MERIDEN, CT — Yankee Gas Services Co., which is part of the Northeast Utilities (NU) system, filed a request in late July with the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) to raise the base rate customers are charged for natural gas service. A proposed 7.64% rate increase, or $29.2 million, is being sought.

If approved by regulators, the new rates would take effect Jan. 1, 2002. The company’s proposal also requests regulatory approval of a special mechanism to recover future capital costs for an estimated $190 million system expansion effort that is already under way and construction of a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility.

According to Dennis E. Welch, president and chief operating officer of Yankee Gas, “We’re very excited about our plans to expand our distribution system and the feedback we’ve received locally from homeowners, businesses, and elected officials supports those efforts. Our plans also include important initiatives to ensure future gas supply to serve both current and new customers.

“While we have benefited greatly from our merger with NU,” he continued, “there have been significant industry changes over the past decade that make it necessary for Yankee to seek this request.”

Over the next five years, the utility expects to spend about $190 million on new gas distribution facilities. Yankee also is planning to update its distribution system by replacing older cast iron and steel mains.

To encourage customers to use energy-efficient appliances, Yankee is proposing the creation of a Fuel Diversity Fund on a pilot basis. Similar to the conservation charge on electric bills, the proceeds would be used as incentives to help offset capital costs of using natural gas.

MORE GAS USERS

Yankee Gas also has announced a major expansion of its natural gas distribution system in Woodbury — part of the first phase of a multiyear growth plan to make natural gas available to more homes and businesses throughout the state. This first phase represents an investment of approximately $23 million.

The utility says it will work closely with local businesses and homeowners to coordinate installation of service lines and meters, connecting them to the new gas mains. The company also is prepared to assist with equipment selections and recommendations, and has financing programs for businesses and homeowners.

Yankee will install nearly 38,200 ft of main in Woodbury, and about 4,000 ft of main in neighboring Southbury. It will make natural gas available to the town’s business districts, Town Hall, and several school buildings. Construction is expected to begin in late summer.

Residents or business owners who are interested in connecting to natural gas through this expansion project are encouraged to call Yankee’s Business Response Center at 888-292-6533 (2YANKEE).

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